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News and views from the German-language region of Europe

January 1, 2016

Righteous Judgment

Filed under Sabbath Thoughts

Jesus, the righteous judge, does not base His judgment on the way things seem to be, but on the way they really are. He expects those who will assist Him as kings and priests in the world tomorrow to do the same: "Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment" (John 7:24).

Righteous judgment also includes a realistic self-assessment if we want to help others overcome their faults:"Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, Let me take the speck out of your eye, when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye" (Matthew 7:3-5; NIV).

A speck of sawdust and a plank have a common origin; they both come from wood. Could it be the case that Jesus is showing us that we may have similar faults that our brother has? That is certainly possible. Remember that the apostle Paul, whom Jesus instructed personally, exhorts us not to condemn others when we ourselves make the same mistakes:

"You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. Now we know that God's judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. So when you, a mere human being, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God's judgment?" (Romans 2:1-3).

Paul (and Christ) is describing a common human problem. We can see the mistakes others make, but sometimes we fail to see that we make similar mistakes ourselves.

For example, consider King David's apparent blindness toward his own sin of murder in the case of Uriah. God sent the prophet Nathan to David to confront him with his sin. Nathan told David about a rich man who had plenty of sheep, but instead of taking from his own flock, he killed the sheep of a poor man for dinner. David was incensed at the rich man's behavior, which gave Nathan the opportunity to tell him that he was guilty of the same in having allowed Uria to die to cover his own sin.

It isn't difficult for us to see the sins and mistakes made in our society. But even in our own fellowship as brothers and sisters in Christ we can sometimes see faults people have that they have not yet overcome. And our assessment might be correct! Whether it is righteous judgment or not depends on whether we examine ourselves humbly to see whether we have a similar weakness that we need to overcome ourselves.

With these thoughts I wish everyone a rewarding Sabbath!

Paul Kieffer's blog with personal insights and news from the German-language region in Europe.


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