Lenten Reader | Day 20

Judge Correctly

Jesus said to them, “I did one miracle, and you are all amazed. Yet, because Moses gave you circumcision (though actually it did not come from Moses, but from the patriarchs), you circumcise a boy on the Sabbath. Now if a boy can be circumcised on the Sabbath so that the law of Moses may not be broken, why are you angry with me for healing a man’s whole body on the Sabbath? Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly.”

John 7:21-24
Reading this passage makes me think of times I’ve heard someone say it is not our job as humans to judge. While in the simplest terms this may be true, as imperfect beings we continually miss the mark. It might seem best to always respond from a place of grace without judgement, but Pastor Jon used a line in a recent sermon that has stuck with me. He said, “Grace without truth is enabling.” We know that for humans to co-exist in a civil society some level of judgement is necessary. So without being able to eliminate judgement completely, how do we make certain we are judging correctly as Jesus has commanded in this passage?   
In my opinion we lose our way in the intent behind our judgements. It’s easy to rush to judgement in anger or a desire for moral superiority. As a father of three young girls, I’m getting a taste of how quick and sharp these judgements can be on a daily basis! In other situations, the rules we use for judgement exist simply because that’s the way it’s always been. In a game of telephone that spans generations we pass down what we interpret to be God’s intent, twisting and manipulating the meaning. In this passage Jesus is challenging a judgement that is based on the fourth commandment concerning Sabbath, so we know its origin was pure, but it is being used to reinforce man’s anger and desires, not God’s intent.   
Now that we have established that judgements are necessary and have an example of how they can go awry, how do we ensure that we are judging correctly? Once again, our answer can be found in grace and truth. If we are rooted in the word of God and bring our judgements from a place of grace and truth, then there is no doubt that we can be a beacon of heaven on earth.   
Greg Ramsey