Is It Wise To Judge Others?
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.”James 1:5 ESV
Have you ever made a silent judgement about someone that resulted in you treating that person differently?
It’s not an easy thing to admit. I’ve done it. Almost every time I can recall making a judgement about someone or a situation they were in, I was wrong. I was wrong because I didn’t have all the facts, nor did I take the time to understand their journey.
What’s worse, is that I’d even talk about them behind their back, without even taking the time to pray. Does that make me a hypocrite?
Is suppose it does.
Many of us spend more time polishing our halos than we do on our knees in prayer. Maybe I am generalizing, but I don’t think that I am to far from the truth.
None of this is about making accusations, it’s about being honest. I am glad that James 1:5 talks about asking God for wisdom. I need the wisdom of God to influence me to pray more intelligently for others without the judgement attached to it.
I seldom understand what’s going on in someone’s life until I take the time to come alongside of them in a supportive manner. If someone lets you into their life, treat it as a sacred privilege, not an opportunity to get the goods so you can gossip (i.e. start a prayer chain).
“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when there is the log in your own eye?” Matthew 7:1-4 ESV
Be blessed my beloved friends.
Pastor Jeremy E.
One of the biggest gripes I hear from atheists, agnostics, and everyone in between towards Christians is that our walk and our talk don’t tell them same story. They have the integrity to call out the inconsistency in our lives that is obvious to them, but oblivious to us.
We really should stick to watching our own bobbers, so to speak. Insight and self-awareness are something we should mutually strive for.
I usually don’t give too much time or attention to the opinions of those whom I don’t know, but I think it’s worth paying attention to.
I know that I can be inconsistent in my faith. For example, my relationship with God can often be more intellectual than intimate. My love for people can grow cold. I can be incredibly selfish.
I’ve pointed these facts out to people who don’t believe in God like I do, they appreciate the honesty, but seldom have I seen them acknowledge their own inconsistency.
Maybe that’s not even the point?
Maybe it’s an opportunity to look at ourselves through the eyes of others. I want to follow the example of Christ in all I think, say, and do. I’m not performing for their approval, nor am I people pleasing. My only desire is to live consistently so I can be a shining example of living free to those who are still bound.
Pastor Jeremy E.
Blogging on the Road...
I have a thoughts spinning around in the foggy electron-cloud called my consciousness this evening.
I’ve noticed an increasing trend over the last few years of believers who once had a simple and compelling faith falling into a dystopian view of God and those who follow Christ.
I understand and accept that spiritual formation involves seasons of deconstructing ideas and doctrines that come into contradiction with changes in how we think about life, God, and our faith. Unfortunately, we often overestimate the profundity of our deconstructive prowess. It can turn an even uglier corner when we no longer limit ourselves to deconstructing ideas, but now we go after people.
If we cannot eradicate an idea, we go after those who endorse or defend the idea instead. Pretty gross, right?
We’ve all got grass stains on our knees and dirt under our fingernails on that one. None of us are innocent.
Many folks seem to define themselves by what they’re against rather than what they truly stand for. They never get around to explaining why they believe what they believe because they’ve become so defensive.
It doesn’t help when people use the most inflammatory rhetoric possible to simple provoke the ire of those whom espouse a theology they now reject.
I’ve known many provocateurs in my life and ministry. I think they mean well, but they end up looking more like schoolyard bullies.
Showing grace and theological hospitality sometimes feels like lost art, but hopefully we’ll find a way to communicate that’s kind and respectful.
Pastor Jeremy E.
I enjoy theological debate, but I always insist on being respectful and making it known that I am not always right.
Here are a few thoughts in rebuttal to a Facebook post my beloved friend Bill W. of a quote from J.I Packer's book titled, Knowing God.
J.I. Packer in "Knowing God" states…
J.I. Packer states: “Power is as much God's essence as wisdom is.”
My Response: The Greeks would love this description of God, I don’t disagree with this statement but He is also defined by loved (1 John 4:16).
J.I. Packer states: “Omniscience governing omnipotence, infinite power ruled by infinite wisdom, is a basic biblical description of the divine character.”
My Response: Yes, I’d agree, but a scriptural proof text would be very helpful…we mustn’t forget that Jesus is the Lord and Savior of all humanity, He is a Jewish Rabbi, not a Greek Philosopher. It’s dangerous to reduce the character of God to a Greek inspired definition that was also used to describe the character of the mythological god Zeus. Perhaps I am splitting hairs, but I do care deeply about this subject. Debate stimulates theological inquiry, or the Bible states, “Iron sharpens iron.”
J.I. Packer states: “Wisdom without power would be pathetic, a broken reed; power without wisdom would be merely frightening; but in God boundless wisdom and endless power are united, and this makes him utterly worthy of our fullest trust.”
My Response: 1 Corinthians 1:24 rings true. The power of God is always rooted in his wisdom, but it also never operates apart from His great love. A great syncretistic definition of wisdom and power for a theologian in the hallowed halls of academia, but it makes God virtually inaccessible to the laymen who simply needs know that God is trustworthy. Christ shows us how trustworthy God is. I agree with the statement, but it requires we be the visible evidence to the weary Christian and the unbeliever alike, demonstrating that God is utterly trustworthy and the only source of true life in this broken-down world.
J.I. Packer states: “God's almighty wisdom is always active, and never fails.”
My Response: Yes! What is lacking is our willingness to look through the eyes of faith to see the wisdom of God playing out in our lives and the circumstances of others. We have to trust God that He will accomplish something truly miraculous in our lives. We don’t always get what we want in prayer, but we are always led to what we need. I see that as the wisdom of God.
J.I. Packer states: “All his works of creation and providence and grace display it, and until we can see it in them we just are not seeing them straight.”
My Response: Many things can distort the clarity of seeing God and our lives through the clear lens of faith (and scripture). Whether we’re believing a lie about God, living in the delusion of sin, or justifying a way of thinking/living that the Bible clearly says will destroy us…we have a promise from God that grace, not judgement will abound to us in greater measure. That’s not to say we deliberately sin to test the limits of His grace, which would obviously be unwise, if not foolish.
J.I. Packer states: “But we cannot recognize God's wisdom unless we know the end for which he is working. Here many go wrong. Misunderstanding what the Bible means when it says that God is love, they think that God intends a trouble-free life for all, irrespective of their moral and spiritual state, and hence they conclude that anything painful and upsetting (illness, accident, injury, loss of job, the suffering of a loved one) indicates either that God's wisdom, or power, or both, have broken down, or that God, after all, does not exist.”
My Response: I could not agree more. The Incarnation of God the Father, in Christ the Son is evidence that God isn’t indifferent to the plight of humanity. He clothed himself in flesh and took on our distress. There will always be debate about what God causes versus what God allows, but understanding that He is love and that His interaction with humanity is motivated by the logic, or the wisdom of His love immediately redeems any distorted ideas we’d be tempted to think about Him. Especially any theology that further maligns His character or diminishes His love.
J.I. Packer states: “But this idea of God's intention is a complete mistake: God's wisdom is not, and never was, pledged to keep a fallen world happy, or to make ungodliness comfortable."
My Response: The irony of this statement is the godless are quite comfortable, whether it’s in their sin, or their academic sanctuaries where their ego is enshrined like royalty sitting on a throne. God really does offer us comfort in our distress, but He doesn’t always make us feel comfortable, after all the Holy Spirit is referred to by Jesus as the Comforter…so let’s not be hasty in our conclusions about the comfort God desires to bring to His people. God has intervened in the lives of people who were not technically following Him, but because of God’s providential, or divine intervention, they saw the loving intention of God in His actions. That has led many to believing in Him through Christ Jesus alone.
A few thoughts to ponder while you enjoy a cup of coffee.
Much love to you all.
Pastor Jeremy Evans
by Jeremy Evans
An excerpt from my upcoming book..
Truth brings us into a state of clarity, while the duty of a lie is to birth confusion and double mindedness. Truth is the antidote.
Remember, God never promised us a life free of pain or suffering. But he did promise to bring healing if we experience it! The existence of pain and suffering doesn't diminish the love of God nor does it call into question the depth of his intention in loving us. When we experience pain, it only triggers his grace to flood our lives with divine resources. This really frustrates the enemy in his mission to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10).
Grace frustrates every attack of the enemy by converting it into a blessing.
Satanic strategies only play into the Holy Spirit's Master Strategy to enhance our lives in Christ! In other words, everything the devil meant for our destruction the Holy Spirit uses for our divine reconstruction. With God on our side, Satan the deceiver, the destroyer, isn't really powerful enough to be our adversary.
It's all Good News.
Everything, every circumstance, and every trial is in already in Christ. The Holy Spirit is always on standby with God-breathed solutions to the problems you've not even experienced yet! That reassures me that God is always for me, not against me. I hope you feel the same way.
Blessing's to you my beloved friends. If you like what you've read, leave a comment, share it on your social media feed. Thanks for checking in.
Pastor Jeremy Evans
The 12 Steps w/ Gary V.
If you've ever been curious about the 12 Steps, their origin, their purpose, or how to work them, Gary's explanation will help you to make sense of this oft misunderstood program of recovery. This discussion is candid and real.
Pastor Jeremy E.
"Build a relationship with God that is INDEPENDENT from the constraints and limitations of institutional Christianity and you'll be FOREVER free to venture wherever GOd leads you."
Pastor Jeremy Evans
I think peer pressure is an interesting topic because there is negative peer pressure and also positive peer pressure. I feel like negative pressure and compromising values go hand in hand. Some of the family and personal values i have include…
It is probably more accurate to refer to this as peer influence, or social influence to adopt a particular type of behavior, dress, or attitude in order to be accepted as part of a group of your equals "peers".
Peer influence is not necessarily a bad thing. We are all influenced by our peers, both negatively and positively, at any age. As you become more independent, your peers naturally play a greater role in your life. Sometimes, though, particularly in emotional situations, peer influence can be hard to resist it really has become "pressure" and you may feel compelled to do something you're uncomfortable with, as I and many others have experienced.
Through all this pressure, choices can be made that are not beneficial to yourself or your family. This is called “Compromising values” as my dad says. With doing this there are consequences, unpleasant, yes of course. But Understanding and maturing enough to realize that is exactly what you need is a sign of growth. Coming from a bad place as a result of peer pressure can be emotionally and sometimes physically exhausting. Growth is the next step in recovery and when you start to realize your growing, you establish those core values once again. That is exactly what I myself am doing. With the love and support but also persistence of my family and also myself, I am growing and finding who I am as a person so I can help others who have struggled just like me.
Dad’s Thoughts on Peer Pressure…
I don't think being a kid in today's world is an easy task. There are so many influences competing for our kids attention. Maintaining your own values as a teenager and a person of faith is extremely difficult, but not impossible. Even those who have the best intentions can easily get sucked into a lifestyle of destructive sin that causes them to drift away from the values that have always been a safe harbor for them. The Good News is that you can come back to God anytime and he will welcome you back with open arms. Paul talked about the Gospel of Reconciliation to the church in Corinth as recorded in 2 Corinthians 5:11-21. God is in the business of forgiving and restoring us when we've fallen. We are New Creations in Christ, the old version of us has been taken away.
If we’re New Creations, then we need to live like it. Our walk and our talk need to tell the same story. Consistency is a necessity, or a compromising our values is imminent.
Shame doesn't motivate change, forgiveness does. We’re not forgiven so we can go back out and sin without feeling guilty, we’re forgiven because God loves us and desires relationship with us. The sacrificial ministry of Christ Jesus reconciled us back to our Father in Heaven. When we screw up in life, once we’ve received God’s forgiveness, we must forgive ourselves. When we realize we’ve been living under the influence of a lie, we can make a stand for truth and become more resilient to resisting the temptation to believe the lie. What is the life? The lie is anything that takes you away from God. The lie is anything that causes you to stray from your Christian values. I absolutely believe in grace, but I also believe there is evil and the world. I am in no position to judge, but I can easily see the selfishness within humanity.
I remember my childhood as if it was yesterday. Peer pressure causes many young people to drop their values in order to fit in, or get acceptance from their peers. In doing so, many find themselves involved in things they never thought would happen to them. That was my story. I said, “yes” to the things I should have said, “no” to. I compromised all because I wanted the acceptance of the people I thought were cool. They never truly accepted me, I comprised on my values and they lost respect for me. You get respect for standing up for what you believe in, rather than falling for the same bottomed out lifestyle they're living.
It could be drinking, drug abuse, sexuality, or any number of issues affecting a young person today. It takes true grit to stand up to peer pressure, but it takes even greater courage to come back to your core values after you've compromised. One of the greatest needs in the life a teenager is to feel accepted by their peers (or their tribe as I like to think of it).
In searching for acceptance, kids become willing to do things that they would never have done otherwise. Never underestimate the power of peer pressure, which is often shame-based. Without sounding too conspiratorial, I think it’s a form of social engineering that is pushed through a majority of the media.
When I was a Youth Pastor, I taught my kids about the need to be satisfied by God’s acceptance of them. Rather than trying to seek it out acceptance and approval from those who weren't qualified to give it to them, I encouraged them recognize and acknowledge how loved they were by God. . Kids might welcome you into their circle of friends, but they're just as broken and lost as you might be. The acceptance is superficial, fleeting and ultimately unfulfilling.
In the Gospel John 16:33 Jesus said to his disciples, “take heart, I’ve overcome the world.” We live in a world filled with beautiful, broken people. Once you say yes to the sin that so easily besets us, coming back to Christ can almost feel impossible. Sometimes we’re blocked by feelings of shame and pride. Sometimes we’re completely delusional about the way we’re living, rationalizing it and justifying it to ourselves with all kinds of lame excuses. Whatever it is that is going on, there is hope in Christ Jesus.
In conclusion, I’d like to quote my daughter Maddie…
“With the love and support but also persistence of my family and also myself, I am growing and finding who I am as a person so I can help others who have struggled just like me. “
As a family, we can find freedom in Christ Jesus and be strengthened in our faith.
Be blessed my beloved friends.
Maddie and Pastor Jeremy Evans
The Dusty Disciples