Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Don't Judge

James 4:11 & 12

Be nice; don’t gossip; don’t criticize.

Don’t speak evil against my brother or sister.

Okay, I get that and I’ve tried to be nice most of the time. But, as usual, James goes beyond the obvious. To criticize and judge other Christians is to criticize and judge the law.

Wait. That seems opposite. When I judge anyone for how they’ve kept the law, it seems like I’m upholding it, not judging it. If I speak up when you tell a lie, I’m pointing out that the law has been broken. I’m defending it and standing up for God’s ways.

But what I’m really doing is playing God. It’s His law and He’s the only one who can use it to judge people. When I judge, I’m interpreting the law and applying it to others. I’m saying “this is what it means and you’re not doing it.”

Since He’s the judge, only God can say if someone has broken the law. Only God can say whether they need to repent and only He can save them if they do.

So it’s none of my business when someone else breaks the law. My job is to obey the law; it applies to me. I can obey it in the confidence that this is what God wants me to do.

Sometimes I’m like the kid who asks “what about him?” when he’s being disciplined. The parent answers, “Don’t worry about him. You just do what I asked you to do.”

Jesus told the parable about the master who hired workers to work in his field. He agreed with them on a salary and they went to work. Later in the day he hired some more for the same salary and later, even more. When they all got paid at the end of the day, the ones who started earlier thought they would get paid more. But the master paid each group what they agreed to. He told them not to worry about the others. Each man’s salary was between him and the master.

So, don’t criticize my brother or sister. Don’t worry about whether they are obeying God. I should just make sure I’m obeying.

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