By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. John 13:35
We are known as Christians by how we treat other Christians. An interesting concept. You would think that God would have said you will be known by...
-how you treat non-Christians
-how you worship
-how you give to the poor
-how you sacrifice yourself for a cause
But Christ wants us instead to "one another" one another. For the month of September (on Thursdays and Fridays) I will be pondering how He asks us to do this. To be honest this is a tough subject for me. I have failed in this area and many have failed me. But it is worth looking at if we are going to follow Him.
Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. Romans 14:13
Judging is a hard concept, and yet we are experts at it! God does encourage us to be discerning and wise in our relationships with people. He asks us to not associate with angry people or those that would lead us astray. So we are supposed to look at others carefully. However, He asks us not to judge. How is judging different from discerning?
The word "discern" comes from the Greek word "krino" which basically means to separate. When we discern we are simply separate in our mind what is good and what is evil. "Katakrino" is the Greek word for judging. It means to condemn. When we judge we have an attitude and not a good one at that! We tell God, "Move over. I am in the Judge's seat. I will decide that this person gets what is coming to him/her." It tends to be an angry way of looking at people or rather looking down on them.
Although we may see a person's actions we don't know her heart. Only God sees the big picture. Only He knows where her heart stands. We are not God. And to push Him out of His courtroom is a pretty bold thing to do. Judgment lacks grace in every case when we are the ones doling it out.
When we judge others we block them (look up at the verse again). Because judgment is condemnation we can kill someone's spirit. We can block them from flourishing. Think about it. When have you been judged? Have you felt beaten down? If the judgment was bad enough maybe you felt like you just couldn't go on because another person's condemnation seemed too mountainous to overcome?
We know how much it hurts to be judged. So let us commit to not doing it to others.
They will know us by our love.