In John 7:24, Christ Jesus admonished the people who listened to Him in the temple in Judea, to judge righteous judgment, and not judge according to the appearances. In Matthew 7:1, in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus is more definite, telling His followers, and therefore Christians of the 21st century, not to judge at all; adding the warning that we shall be judged by the measure with which we judge others.
Explaining ‘righteous judgment,’ Jesus says in John 5:30 that He can of His own self do nothing, but that righteous judgment is seeking God’s will. Does judging others silently in our hearts, openly from the pulpit or publicly in the media, align with Jesus’ instruction? We must take care not to demean, criticise or judge those of other faiths or persuasions, those of different Christian denominations than ours, and so on.
Founder of the Church of Christ, Scientist, Mary Baker Eddy, echoing Jesus words, writes in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, that one of the marks of a Christian is to be charitable to those of differing faiths. This does not, however, mean compromising the spiritual understanding we are gaining in our own Christian walk, in a bid to be more agreeable or to gain popularity.
In human courts of law, in some cases, aside other considerations, juries and judges are asked to also consider the motive of the accused. This should be instructive to the church. We must humbly realise, whether we are a member of the clergy or laity, that we cannot see the motive of any heart, but our own. Therefore, our duty is not to criticise or judge others, but rather to work out our own salvation, and follow Christ in the way of God’s appointing.
Eddy says Christians must follow the Master’s injunction, to judge not. Why? Well, the Bible says in Genesis 18:25 that God is the Judge of the whole earth. And our loving and impartial God is not only righteous, but He also sees the heart.
Mojisola George, Christian Science Committee on Publication for Nigeria West.
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