Friday, January 1, 2010

"YOU'RE NOT THE BOSS OF ME!" -- Devotional for December 30, from "Good Seeds"

Do not judge one another (Romans 14:13). Do not speak against one another, brethren, for he who speaks against a brother, or judges his brother, speaks against the law of God, to judge it. But if you judge the law you are not a doer of the law. There is only one Lawgiver, one Judge – the One who is able to both save and destroy. So who are you to judge your neighbor! (James 4:11-12)

This is one of the favorite phrases heard in childish sibling rivalry battles. Unfortunately we never seem to outgrow the tendency toward bossing other people around. Was it to children that James wrote this stern admonition, this negative member of the “One Another” family of biblical admonitions? No, it was to adults who in the midst of their God centered worship became distracted by their man centered irritations – and before they knew it, they set themselves up as judges of one another. We need to see that this is not only wrong, but foolish. Why? Because anything less than perfect judgment is failed judgment, and only God can judge perfectly. There are two pre-requisites for being a judge: 1) Perfect Knowledge and 2) Perfect Righteousness. As far as humans are concerned, none of us knows enough and none of us is good enough, to be a judge of others. Any judgment we make will of necessity be based on incomplete information. And, because we are sinners, it will be based on faulty motives and attitudes. Only God knows everything, and only God has a pure heart, untainted by sin. He “does all things well” (Mark 7:37). When we judge others we set ourselves over them as if we were God. But only God is GOD: “Let God be God, and every man a liar” (Romans 3:4). To “speak against” someone may not sound so bad, but the literal translation of this phrase in James 4:11 is “evil slander.” We can slander as effectively with our eyes as with our lips – when we look down upon someone. God is high enough to see men with no obstructions blocking His vision, seeing them as they really are, whereas when we “look down” on others we don't really see them, viewing them only through prideful, haughty eyes. We must realize that only God can look down upon a person with impunity, because He alone stands as the one perfectly wise and righteous Judge. We tend to make premature judgments. In I Corinthians 4:5 Paul says, “Judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts. At that time God will give to everyone what praise is due.” We must wait until Jesus comes to hear the final verdict. Until then, seek to see others through the goodness and wisdom of God. If you step down from being judge of your brother, only then can you step up to being his friend!

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