Leave the Judging to God. James 4:11-12.

May 19th, 2009

James 4:11-12.

 4:11.  Do not speak evil of one another, brethren. He who speaks evil of a brother and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge.
 4:12.  There is one Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy. Who are you to judge another?

Leave the Judging to God.

In any situation with a group of people, of any size, there needs to be some kind of round rules. When rules are in place, a rule will eventually be broken. Anybody can raise a complaint, but somebody will have to hold the place of judge, make a decision, and administer a punishment. That's the way laws work.

Let's not talk about religious things for a moment. In our civic laws we have one that involves stop signs. When that rule is not followed, someone reports it. A policeman writes a ticket. The ticket is your summons to see a judge. The judge determines guilt and assigns a punishment.

I think that most often Christians are acting as the policemen in the situation. We are out on the streets, we see things happen, and have to use enough judgement to recognize an infraction of the law. We rush to the offender and get on their case about the deed that was done. We issue the ticket for that person to appear in God's court.

The problem is that people misunderstand us Christians. They see the policeman as the judge. They don't recognize the real authority of the real judge, God. They think the ticket is the actual punishment. It carries no weight because they feel no gilt over it. Still, if you've ever got a ticket, it is still an infraction of the law. Ignorance of law is no excuse. Your case still goes on the books. Your court date still rolls around. Now your judgement is assured, a warrant is issued and there is no avoiding the judge or your punishment. Try standing in the courtroom and facing the judge, and telling him that you never gave his authority over you any credit. Try to explain how his law doesn't apply to you for whatever reason that you can rationalize. You just might find yourself angry and still rationalizing over it as your walet is emptied of the full amount of the fine, or sitting in a jail cell for a little while.

In the big picture of things, only God is judge. As Christians we are not to take the law into our own hands. We should never be the ones to declare the punishment. We have no authority to send someone off to their doom. We can identify an infraction. We can try to warn people from making a mistake. We should send out encouraging words to motivate people to make the right decisions. That's all we can do.

Is it possible that you, a Christian, are putting yourself into the position as judge? Stop it. You will know you are if you accost a sinner, and say harsh words, evil words against that person. Our words, even harsh, or strong ones, have no authority to condemn that person. We shouldn't even tell them that 'God'll get you for that.' God just might, but not until that final day. God's grace and mercy is new each day.

God loves us before we loved him. He loved us when we were still sinners. Once we turn to a godly lifestyle, we start seeing how unnatractive and shameful sin really is. When we see that sin in another we get an idea of how offensive sin is to 'god. Still, god loved us, even when we once had that exact same, shameful look of sin about us that we may be seeing in the person we might be judging... Oops, I mean observing as a police officer.  God's mercy is new each day. He gave us a chance. Show mercy and grace to that person.

Sadly, the guilty person might mistake the policeman as the heavy. He might mistake the warning of the crime as the end judgement. All you can do is to understand your position. Leave any condemnation in the hands of God.

If you were a police officer, and somebody gave you a hard time about being a judge, or argue why you don't leave them alone as they robbed a house, or ran that stop sign, what would you do or say? That's the kind of reaction we should have. Sometimes it might require explaining how the legal system works, sometimes it takes a little reasoning, sometimes there's not much that can be done. No matter what, stand your ground. a policeman who looks the other way and let crime take place has no place on his job.

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