Judge not, lest you be judged. Matthew 7:1-12 We often see judgment as negative thing, when in reality it is simply an opinion or conclusion about something or someone. We make judgments all the time. Unfortunately, we sometimes make judgments without full consideration and knowledge of a situation. I was recently asked to participate in a group that is charged with assisting the discernment of individuals who believe they are called to ordained ministry. My initial response to the invitation was “Who am I?” I was concerned that I might play some part in “weeding out.” I began to think about my own process and experiences that lead to my own ordination and subsequently to where I am today. What initially was a scary thought I now see as a gift. Every day we sit at a table of discernment or judgment, primarily for our selves. God has given us a brain, a heart and some “art” (preaching, teaching, mending, etc.) to use for the encouragement of every good work of the Gospel. In our own discernment and judgment, our practice should be to listen to the voice of God, the Spirit of Christ. On the occasion that we are called to overtly discern or judge someone or something other than our selves our first response will be to remember that “God has so graciously heard my voice. Who am I not to listen?”
If you are the Son of God, command this stone; If you worship me it will be all yours; “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here… Luke 4:1-13 How many times have we heard the expression “If your friend jumped off of a bridge, would you jump too?” In most cases the answer would be “no”. Of course literally we wouldn’t do it. However figuratively, we’ve probably done it many times. The key to not jumping off that “bridge” is not because of the action itself, but rather the thoughts that precede the action. The enemy of what is good and right is not really interested in what we do. The enemy is more interested in what we think and believe ourselves to be. Satan approached Jesus when he was hungry and believed him to be “vulnerable”. So too, he approaches us in the same way. Our reality is that knowingly or unknowingly, in our humanness, sometimes we choose to “jump off the bridge”. The good news is that our God always loves. Our God always cares. Our God always forgives. We must always remember what Christ remembered in times of vulnerability; who we are (identity), to whom we belong (inheritance), and why we are called in spiritual relationship with Him (mission).