Bread – Judging

September 13, 2017


Psalm 82

How long will you judge unjustly and show partiality to the wicked?  Selah”  Ps. 82:2

I have heard it said that, as Christians, we should not “judge” others.  Although this statement is a mistake when it comes to Christians “judging” other Christians (see 1 Cor. 5:12), it is also likely incorrect when applied to everyone because, although maybe we should not judge others before we first judge ourselves, the fact is that we do.  And that is not necessarily bad.

The problem is that the word “judging” has been equated to the word “condemning.”  Judging is not condemning; it is assessing what is being done or said by someone against a standard.  If the standard is a statute, then the judging occurs against the standard of the law.  If the standard is God’s revelation in His Word, then the judging occurs against the standard contained in His Word.

When the standard against which we measure is external to us, we can assess or judge objectively.  Did the objective behavior being judged meet the external standard or did it not?

When the standard against which we measure is internal to us (meaning that it is based on our personal sense of right and wrong, good and evil, etc.), we can only assess or judge subjectively.

The fact that we routinely judge (evaluate, assess) is the reason our insistence upon external standards (God’s Word or the “rule of law”) is so important.  If the standard is “relative to what I think” and the only standard that matters is the one I set internally, all judging will be condemning because, subjectively, “you” will never live up to whatever arbitrary standard I set in my own mind.

This “subjective” judging based on our relativistic “truth” is where we always go wrong.  Why do we judge unjustly?  Because we do not have an external standard (God’s Word) to which we relate.

Where does racism come from?  From our subjective standards that some people are better than others.  What God’s standards have to say about that is that all people were created by God.  That being the case, they are equal.

If we are judging unfairly, the answer is not to stop judging at all.  The answer is to judge according to the right criteria.

What is the right criteria?  The Word of God in Scripture and Jesus Christ.

Judge that.

________

© 2017 GBF   All Scripture quotations are from the English Standard Version (2001), unless otherwise indicated.

 

 

 

Advertisements

Bread – Beginnings

November 28, 2016


Psalm 43

Send out Your light and Your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to Your holy hill and to Your dwelling!”  Ps. 43:3

Yesterday, Sunday, began the first Sunday of Advent, the beginning of the church calendar according to many denominations, the four Sundays aiming for Christmas.  It is a time of anticipation as well as self-examination, a so-called “penitential season” which precedes the “joyful” season of Christmas.  Of course, we should be both penitent and joyful all the time as Christians, but it is helpful to emphasize some emotional states over others at different times.

It is also useful to remind ourselves that now is a time of preparation, not by racing to the stores to get the best bargains so we can give the biggest gifts, but to prepare ourselves to receive the biggest gift ever given – the Lord Jesus Himself.

Sometimes in the simplest of words there is the most profound meaning.  “Send out Your light and Your truth…”  These are some words from today’s Psalm, but they are profound.

Why?

Well, first it is God who does the sending.  The request (prayer) from the sons of Korah (presumably, since this Psalm ties to Psalm 42) is that “[God] send…”  It is by the sovereign act of God that His light enters the world; it is by the sovereign act of God that we see the light and follow it to God’s dwelling, into His presence.  No one else is available to do the sending of light.  We can by a laser send a point light to a location, and by the illumination of an electric bulb can fill a room with light.  But we did not place the sun in orbit to give the world earthly light; and we did not place Jesus Christ on earth to the be the spiritual light of the world.  God did it.

Second, the light is sent “out.”  If we were writing this, we might rephrase this to say that God sends the light “to.”  To His people, to me, to my fellow Christians, to the world. But since God is Himself the source of light, the light is sent out from Him and it hits all, but is only recognized by those whom God has enabled to behold it.

Third, the light is His – “Your light.”  It is not our light which is refocused or enhanced by some kind of God-prism or God-reflector.  It is His light.  He is the source; He is the generator; He is His light.

Fourth, light and truth go hand in hand.  “Send out Your light and Your truth…”  Not first one and then the other.  Not truth first and then light to illuminate it.  Not light first and then truth to focus it.  But both together, at the same time.  They do go together.  To those who say they have no truth or truth is relative to what they think (if they think it is truth, then it is), I would ask whether they have light.  They may say that they are enlightened, but if there is a light which they follow it is a false light, a half-light, a man-made light with a beginning and an end, which will fade into oblivion when the batteries run out.  God’s truth accompanies God’s light, and God’s light accompanies God’s truth.

We are beginning the race downhill toward Christmas, toward celebration of the moment when God indeed sent out His light and His truth in the substance of God the Son.

Let us prepare to behold the light and the truth as we again visit that manger scene and marvel about how God began his rescue operation for us.  In light.  And in truth.

_________

© 2016 GBF   All Scripture quotations are from the English Standard Version (2001), unless otherwise indicated.

 

%d bloggers like this: