Understand motives before placing judgment

PROFESSIONS OF FAITH

But judge with righteous judgment. John 7:24

Have you ever questioned someone’s walk with Christ, their profession of faith? Many times people will respond by quoting Matthew 7:1, “Judge not, that you be not judged.” We must be careful of how we judge others, but the Bible makes it clear that we must do some type of character evaluation almost every day, John 7:24. The word of God tells us not to be unequally yoked to an unbeliever in marriage or in business. This presupposes the fact that we are going to come to a conclusion about the person’s life and walk with Christ; we are going to judge them. When Christians enter into long-term relationships without applying this principle, it can lead to a lifetime of pain, stress and hardship. It is very difficult for a follower of Christ to be in communion and fellowship with a servant of the devil.

Matthew 7:16 says, “You will know them by their fruits,” this would seem to make the task rather easy. But in real life, some fruit trees don’t bear fruit every year. Sometimes it takes a little longer to tell exactly what a tree or a person is producing. Judas was one who played the hypocrite very well. Many of the disciples didn’t realize that he was serving the devil, even as they ate the Passover with him.

John Piper made a statement that helped me in this area of discernment. Here is the insight he gives, “Not what we dutifully will, but what we passionately want reveals our excellence or evil,” from “The Pleasures of God” p 16. This statement gets to the heart of the problem, but we must apply it with discernment. Don’t be too quick to believe the words you hear someone say, watch their lives and see what they value and what is a priority to them.

We can also be fooled by what appears to be good intentions and led astray by actions. Ask yourself the question, what is the motive or goal behind what this person is doing? People can appear to be doing things to help others, when it is really for the advancement of their own agenda. The goal of the deed or thing they are doing can be completely self centered to accomplish their own selfish end.

Judas was a good example of this, he was very indignant when a woman poured expensive oil on Jesus head, while He was at the house of Simon the leper, Matthew 26:6-13. The words Judas said sounded very good on the surface, “To what purpose is this waste? For this fragrant oil might have been sold for much and given to the poor.” Who could argue with a statement like that? Judas was concerned about the poor people, or so it seemed.

John gives us a little insight into the motive and purpose of Judas in John 12:6, “This he said, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the money box; and he used to take what was put in it.” This is just one example we could look at. As Christians living in this fallen world, “we must be wise as serpents and harmless as doves,” Matthew 10:16. May God give us wisdom to discern good from evil and right from wrong.

Comments or questions, contact me at: thoughtsonword@gmail.com.

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Lyndon Stimeling, of Richfield, has been writing about faith and family for many years. He has self-published two books, “Common Thoughts on The Word” in 2016 and “Eye of a Needle” in 2017. He has also had articles published in The Coming Home Journal and local newspapers and has written a children’s book.

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