Although many people in today’s culture say it’s wrong to make judgments, the truth is that making a righteous judgment is vital to the health of a nation.
A few weeks ago I (David) was able to make this point to 1,000 youth gathered for prayer at the busiest abortion clinic in our city.
I read from Proverbs 31:8-9, which says: “Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all the unfortunate. Open your mouth, judge righteously, and defend the rights of the afflicted and needy.”
I then asked the kids if it was OK to make judgments.
I heard nothing but crickets – most were afraid to even nod their heads one direction or the other.
So I asked if it was right or wrong for someone to cheat on a test.
“Wrong,” some replied.
“Well, you’ve just made a judgment,” I said. We don’t need a nation of cheaters.
Then I asked if it was right or wrong for someone to steal from them.
“Wrong!” several shouted.
“You’ve made another judgment,” I said. We don’t need a nation of thieves.
I then referred back to Proverbs 31, asking if it was right or wrong to tear apart an innocent and defenseless child.
“Wrong!” they all responded.
They got the point: We as human beings are to make judgments; we just need to make sure they are right. And the only way to ensure this is to do it God’s way.
Jesus said, “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment” (John 7:24).
When making a righteous judgment, it must be based on what God sees and not what we see. God looks at the heart, and so must we. It’s not right to simply rush to judgment based on what we think we see, but, rather, we are commanded to look at the heart – to see beyond what it may seem from the outside.
Jesus then took it a step further in Matthew 7:1-5, warning us to be genuine and merciful when making a righteous judgment:
“Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”
To make a righteous judgment, we must first clean out our own eyes, and then we can see people’s actions, situations or issues as God sees them.
This is where much of the hang-up over judgment comes today. For instance, some Christians who stand against gay marriage, saying it’s only between one man and one woman for life, completely ignore divorce and simply give it a pass.
This is unrighteous judgment, and it’s a log in the eye.
So we’ve got to get cleaned up ourselves first – and then, as Jesus said, we can see clearly to take the speck out of our brother’s eye. This allows us offer hope and healing to a brother who is surely to be harmed by a speck in his eye.
And removing specks is delicate business. We can’t simply plunge our fingers in someone’s eye – they’d end up worse than before, especially if our hands weren’t clean! So to make a righteous judgment, we must be gentle, and we must be clean to be an effective person God can use to help others.
We are called to make judgments on the earth, especially in today’s confusing culture, but we must make righteous judgments. And when we do, we can be effective agents of hope and healing in a nation that desperately needs it.
by JASON & DAVID BENHAM