Sunday, October 25, 2009



Jesus is teaching about how to make some common sense judgment calls in the most effective way possible. Step #1 is to JUDGE WITH THE PROPER SPIRIT. Remember that in the way you make a judgment call about someone or something, you will be judged in the same way and by the same standard as you judge. So be careful how you judge others. Judge with the proper spirit-with a balance of grace and truth. Judging another with truth only can be harsh and lacks the relational dimension of a proper spirit. Judging another with grace only is weak and lacks the truth necessary to get people back on track.

Step #2-JUDGE WITH THE PROPER STARTING POINT. Start with yourself first. When you see something wrong with someone else, quickly go look in a mirror first before saying a word about your friend. Take the "log" out of your eye first, then you are better able to help your friend with the "speck" in his eye. There is a "speck" in his eye that needs to come out, but your judgment as to how to best help is distorted by what's in your own eye. Your perspective is distorted.

Jesus continues His teachings on how to judge with: "Do not give what is holy to dogs and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces." (Matthew 7:6) This may seem to be out of place in Jesus' teachings on how to judge another, but I don't think so. This is Step #3-JUDGE WITH PROPER SCREENING.

This is a warning by Jesus that your very good, sound, common sense judgment calls must be matched to the context where it is shared. This is SECRET #35: The follower of Jesus judges with a certain filtering.

When you judge with conclusion judgment, don't just randomly make your judgment calls wherever you might be. For instance, don't walk into a bar and start making pronouncements against drunkenness and alcoholism. This will be throwing your pearls before swine. They not only will not appreciate your words, but they will not be able to hear them at all. Your conclusions will not be appreciated and they may have valid grounds to criticize you.

Jesus uses two interesting images here. The first is "giving what is holy to dogs." Moses wrote about this very image. He recorded God's words, "You shall be holy men to Me, therefore you shall not eat flesh torn to pieces in the field; you shall throw it to the dogs."

That which is holy is that which is separated unto God for His special purpose. God warns the priests through Moses that any meat that is torn to pieces in offering a sacrifice is not holy and should be thrown out to the dogs. On the other hand, Jesus is saying that which is holy or that judgment conclusion which you have made before God is special and should not be thrown to the dogs as if it is meaningless.

The second image is "throwing your pearls before swine." The word pearl is where we get the name Margarita or Margaret. It means to have a value. Pearls look a bit like peas or acorns and might initially deceive the pigs, until they figure it out. Pigs or wild boars were well known during that time in the Jordan Valley. The way a wild boar, especially if angered, attacks you is to run at you with its tusks. It can't turn its head and bite you, but must gore you and knock you down. It tries to trample you.

When you make a proper judgment, you judge with a proper spirit, start with yourself first and be careful who you share your judgments with. Your fine judgment calls might not be received well. This can be easily applied to your interaction with those outside the faith. Don't just preach to someone what you have determined or found to be true. If the people you are talking with are not interested in, leaning in a bit or open to what you are saying, your audience may tear you to pieces. And, who could blame them?

The Good News of Jesus is that He loves and accepts you just as you are. That, in itself, can be offensive, if you are more interested in earning your acceptance with God. Also, 50% or more of the people of the world are turned off by Christianity and its religious system. Unless you are able to disconnect Jesus from Christianity, your audience may be already turned off with your thoughts and conclusions.

So be careful what you say to whatever audience you encounter. SECRET #35: The follower of Jesus judges with a certain filtering.