Youversion.com username • dennismpapp
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So, here's what hit me today...
Hey, I've gotta drive my baby girl to her first day of student teaching at Joliet Central this morning.
It is messing with my routine a bit. When I get back I'll add some thoughts on today's passages.
Thanks for you patience.
Dennis can you expound on Matthew 7:1-5 it seems like this is the passage that's thrown back at Christians when we try to uphold God's moral laws. It says not to judge, but if I see a kid playing in the street I'm going to correct him, yell even, because it's dangerous and he needs to get out of the street before he gets hurt or even killed. Is this a fair comparison to sin? If you see someone embracing sin are we not allowed to help them by correcting them?
Acts 14:9 hit me today too. and listening as Paul preached. Looking straight at him, Paul realized he had faith to be healed.
It makes me wonder what Paul saw, I mean it was most likely the Spirit that told him, but still to be there to see how the man was acting/looking/doing. God has been pressing the word faith into me all month.
Ok, finally posting. Look at Matthew 7:1-2.
Is there a more used, confused and abused passage in the Bible?
“Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. 2For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged."
This verse is thrown around so freely. "Doesn't the Bible say you are not supposed to judge?" is whipped out, usually when someone is calling attention to the actions of another person.
The passage provides an opportunity for us to be reminded of an important principle of biblical interpretation:
We must use Scripture to interpret Scripture.
Later in this same chapter, starting in verse 15, Jesus says:
"You can identify them [false prophets] by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. 18A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. 19So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. 20Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions."
Read it again.
That sound a lot like judging by most people's standards. Zero in on the last phrase:
"...you can identify people by their actions."
Substute the word "identify" with "judge." It essentially means the same thing.
We are now presented with a few options.
The first is that Jesus is so absent-minded that, not only in the same day of teaching, but within moments of making a bold statement opposing judging, He egregiously contradicted Himself.
I believe the Bible to be true and also took a logic class. What average people declare as a contradiction is really just a confusing statement that can be clarified by rubbing a couple brain-cells together.
It is not possible to not judge, that is, to not make evaluative decisions on people and their actions. The fact is, we make judgments not only daily, but several times in a single hour.
If Jesus says, "You will know a person by their fruit" He is not condemning evaluating people and situations. He is not even forbidding calling out sin or labeling a person for what they are. Jesus Himself told us to judge a tree by its fruit.
There is something deeper going on here. "Fruit" is a tangible result visible to the naked eye. What cannot be seen on the surface is the inner workings of the heart...a person's motivation. I believe the condemnation is not against us reading actions, but making brash statements about another person's heart. We can know what a person does, but, unless they tells us why, we cannot truly know why. We can conjecture. With experience, we can probably even make an educated guess. However, only God can judge the heart.
Judging the heart is off limits to humans. Only God can accurately discern/judge a person's motivation.
When Samuel was sent to anoint David as king, God told Samuel that he was using the wrong criteria to choose the new king to replace Saul. Samuel was choosing based on physical attributes. God said, "The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart."
We can only judge what we can see, which is the fruit, not the heart.
We can assess the actions, not the motivation.
Thanks, Dennis. I've wrestled with this for a long time, but I see the difference now. Judging the heart is for God.