Freedom From Judgment
|Key Passage: "Do not judge, and you will not be judged."
Key Thought: When we become completely free from the need to to judge others, we will also become completely free of the fear of being judged.*
|Scripture: Matthew 7:1; John 8: 2-11 (NJB)
Idea: It is a natural human tendency to be critical and judgmental. We are quick to form opinions and pass judgment on people based on their appearance, words, and actions. Brennan Manning says, "As long as we continue to live as if we are what others think about us, we will remain filled with judgments, opinions, evaluations, and condemnations. We will remain addicted to the need to put people in their place."
Knowing Jesus changes our perspective about ourselves and others.
Story: A Woman Caught in Adultery
While teaching in the temple, the scribes and Pharisee confronted Jesus with a moral question they felt sure would throw His teaching into question. They brought a woman to Jesus whom they had caught in the act of sexual intercourse (in this case adultery). The accusation raises a lot of unanswered questions. Where was the man? Who was the man? How did the scribes and the Pharisees know about this? Was the whole thing staged? Did the woman know her partner was already married? We could go on.
Jesus didn't show any interest in the details. He ignored the accusations and started writing in the sand with a twig. Perhaps the initial reaction of the accusers was that Jesus didn't care about sin. They expected perfect obedience and demanded swift judgment—until they realized that Jesus knew about their unfinished business—the secret sins in their own their lives. Suddenly, the accusers realized they were no better than the woman they were accusing.
Jesus' response to the Pharisees, and to the woman, is both instructive and redemptive. To the Pharisees He said, "He who is without sin among you, let him throw the first stone at her first" (John 8:7) NKJV. If you want to escape being judged, don't judge."
To the woman He said, " 'Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?. . .Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more' " (John 8:10-11) NKJV.
May God keep us from following in the footsteps of the Pharisees. The only way this can happen is by spending time with Jesus.
*Henri Nouwen, Here and Now (New York: Crossroad, 1955), 62.
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