by Gloria Copeland
“So don’t make judgments about anyone ahead of time—before the Lord returns. For he will bring our darkest secrets to light and will reveal our private motives. Then God will give to each one whatever praise is due.”
1 Corinthians 4:5, New Living Translation
One of the most wonderful characteristics of love is that it always believes the best. Love doesn’t criticize or judge others. Even when a great wrong has been done, love says, “I know that person’s action was wrong, but I cannot judge his heart. I choose to believe he did the best he could do at the time, and I will treat him with the mercy I would desire to receive if I were in his shoes.”
Sometimes that seems extremely difficult to do. But here’s something that will help you. When you’re tempted to step out of love and into strife by judging a fellow believer, remember what Romans 14:4 says and ask yourself, “Who are you to condemn someone else’s servants? Their own master will judge whether they stand or fall. And with the Lord’s help, they will stand and receive his approval” (New Living Translation).
The devil will try to push you into making a decision about that person. He’ll pressure you to say whether he’s guilty or not guilty. But don’t give in to that pressure. It’s not your job to judge others. (Isn’t that a relief?) In fact, according to the Bible, it’s to your benefit to withhold judgment because it will save you from the judgment that’s due you.
Jesus said, “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged” (Matthew 7:1-2, New Living Translation).
For example, if you’re in a church where the pastor has done wrong and lived a wrong lifestyle, and you feel you don’t want to follow him, that’s fine. I don’t blame you. Leave that church and go to one where there’s a pastor you can trust and respect. But do it quietly. Don’t sow discord in the church before you go.
You may be tempted to take it on yourself to make that pastor pay for the harm he’s done to you and to others––but resist that temptation. Just love him as you leave, pray for him, and let God deal with him as He sees fit. There are strong words for believers and ministers alike who sow discord among the brethren. God hates it and it is an abomination to Him (Proverbs 6:16, 19).
Our business is to pray for mercy rather than engage in judgment. We leave judgment to The LORD.
Most important of all, make your exit honorably and without bitterness. Let your leaving be marked by peace and love. If you do, you’ll be a BLESSING wherever you go.
LOVE ASSIGNMENT: Stop right now and evaluate who in your life you are judging or have judged. Repent for judging them and for any discord your judgment may have sown. Thank The LORD for always knowing the whole story about every situation and for always judging rightly. Other people are His business!
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