As the coals from their barbecue burned down, the hosts passed out marshmallows and long roasting forks. Just then, two fire trucks roared by, sirens blaring, lights flashing. They stopped at a house right down the block from the marshmallow roast. All twelve of them raced out of the back yard and down the street, where they found the owners of the blazing house standing by helplessly. They glared at the 12 with looks of disgust. Suddenly they realized why: they were all still holding their roasting forks with marshmallows on them.
So often, things are not as they appear. I read somewhere that the only exercise some Christians get is jumping to conclusions and rushing to judgment! There’s something about our sin nature that is so twisted that we sometimes want to believe the “bad stuff” about others! What is that about? Last night, at God’s Table, I met two young women that have been living in a barn because they have nowhere else to go! I’m so thankful they were able to come to our church and be ministered to and fed – with no judgment. That’s what the Church is supposed to be like.
John 7:24: “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.”
“Righteous” indicates a right relationship with God and with others. If we love the Lord and others, our motives will be pure. We will not be filled with jealousy, envy or hate, thereby judging someone with the purpose of hurting them. No, if it’s righteous judgment, our motivation is love for that person. Jesus was talking to the religious crowd that was consumed with pride and self-righteousness. They were so shallow as they judged the surface and neglected to look deep inside their own hearts. He’s saying, look at the bigger picture. He’s saying, get your own heart right with Me and your brother before you walk around judging others. He also says:
“Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother.” Matthew 18:15
Jesus is not interested in tattle tales, He is interested in us “gaining our brothers.” He is into healing relationships and healthy church families. We want to move forward, but are we healthy and ready to move forward? Is God waiting on us to heal?