Our Guest blogger Margaret Kennedy, from Dothan, Alabama, is an author and the Founder of Threads of Hope Ministries, a speaking and writing ministry. I was convicted of my own issues with this topic as I read her message. I think you will be too.
“Who died and made you judge and jury?” A familiar phrase from years gone by? Jesus clearly answers the question for us when He says repeatedly “judge not”.
In the New Testament, the word judge means “to form or give an opinion after separating and considering the particulars of a case.” Yet, as leaders, do we not often find ourselves in the midst of situations that seem to require a “judgment call”? And consequently, we find ourselves struggling with whether we are being wise, discerning, or judgmental.
When I came to chapter 4, teaching through the book of James, I found myself asking God to clarify this for me. How can I know when I am examining fruits without passing judgment, recognizing sin and reacting properly, passing on wisdom without personal preference in matters?
He brought to my mind TV’s “Judge Judy”. Now she loves her role as judge and jury. Have you watched her in action? She listens, sometimes intently, analyzes the situation, comes up with some facts, scrutinizes them, offers verbal criticism to all, reaches a conclusion, proclaims her verdict, bangs her gavel – and it is done!
“Oh, Lord” I prayed. Keep me from jumping in Judge Judy’s shoes! God revealed to me that often this judgmental position we assume is a process. One that starts with analyzing a situation for truth – which is a good thing. We are told to use “righteous judgment.” I believe the judgmental process begins when we go a step further and move into scrutinizing too closely into the situation, leading us to begin criticizing the situation or those involved, which ends with our verbalizing our conclusions with others. And do we not know that nothing rips apart the fellowship of the kingdom of God like a spirit of criticism and judmentalism.
So, God is teaching me to execute righteous judgment but leave the rest up to Him. Stop right there. He is the only Lawgiver and the only one that has the right to be “judge and jury”.
How have you been judge and jury with the women in your church, or in your community? Share your comments on this post.
Margaret is a Biblical retreat and conference speaker, who also has a call for mentoring young women on her life. She teaches a ladies class in her local church, which has been aired on a secular station for several years. She has also had a daily radio program called “Threads of Hope” on a local Christian station. She has been married to Ross for 17 years, and has 2 grown sons and 5 grandchildren. She is a LifeWay Ministry Multiplier and co-author of Heart Friends: Beginning and Maintaining a Small Accountability Group.