Spiritually Speaking… By James Washington
Special to the NNPA from the Houston Forward Times
The Bible is a reminder that being judgmental is really akin to slapping yourself in the face:
“Do not judge or you too will be judged. For in the same manner you judge others, you will be judged and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”—Matthew 7:1-2
It seems that’s a simple enough standard to live by, but the power of this statement, when viewed from the perspective of who’s saying it, the importance skyrockets. For the most part people just cannot help themselves when it comes to judging others. The very nature of man down through the ages is to judge. This human condition causes all of us great problems and inflicts great harm. It worried Paul so much he talked about it like this:
“For I am afraid that when I come I may not find you as I want you to be. I fear that there may be quarrelling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, factions, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder.”—2 Corinthians 12:20
It’s this gossip and feeling superior that I think Christ is referring to in Matthew. These are two traits of the human personality that come from the need to judge and they entice so many of us into situations likely to destroy what should be our eternal peace.
We live in a world where one is judged by looks, background, money, educational achievement and individual power and influence. As Christians we should aspire to an eternity void of all this. The common denominator in heaven is a fundamental belief in Jesus, who taught to judge not lest you be judged. The struggle, our struggle is to actually walk in the shoes of another human being, to consider his or her circumstances, to recognize the cruelties of life and be our brother’s keeper. When all is said and done, it’s pretty easy to understand that if God can forgive, then who are we to be better than God? Easy to understand, sometimes impossible to do. However, this is clear. It’s not confusing. There are no perfect people, pastors, churches, children, spouses, fathers or mothers. You might want to make an effort towards an attitude adjustment. We are all dirty rags needing a good spiritual bath. As God has done for me on many an occasion, I need to consider doing it to and for others. Life requires a “little help here” for everybody.
My point is that when we encounter the opportunity to pass judgment, the temptation to look down our noses at someone, judge a person to have no redeeming qualities and is just an awful human being, remember this:
“For if you forgive them when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your father will not forgive your sins.”—Matthew 6:14-15
We all need to work on this because our very souls are at stake. So the next time you’re at the point of raising your nose, take a moment and look up. That would probably be an excellent time to remember to acknowledge God for his grace in forgiving you, your unkind thoughts. The alternative I’m told is to have God look down His nose at you; a chilling thought I might add. You see you cannot judge and forgive and at the same time. Only God can do that and it’s in His nature not to. Jesus took care of that for Him.
May God bless and keep you always,
Category: Spiritual Matters