By Chris WittsSaturday 27 Jul 2013Morning Devotions with Chris WittsUncategorizedReading Time: 0 minutes
If we are honest with ourselves we must confess that in our lives there is too often a readiness to condemn others. I spoke about this yesterday. Too often we not only criticize, but go a step further and criticize and condemn the person too. Jesus said quite a bit about this subject,including His statement from Matthew 7:1 “Don’t judge,so that you won’t be judged”. In thinking of this topic,I recall that wonderful old 1936 classic”Gone with the Wind” – first a best selling novel then the movie 3 years later starring Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable. It is loved by millions of movie goers around the world. If you’ve never seen the movie you would not have met Melanie Wilkes who as a committed Christian had a profound influence on a local community. One day she and Scarlett and Mrs Mead are leaving the Confederate hospital after caring for the wounded soldiers. Then a woman approaches them – the town prostitute Belle Watling,complete with dyed red hair,low cut dress and heavy make up. The others dismiss her,but Melanie receives her with kindness and takes her donation for the upkeep of the hospital. The others wouldn’t stoop to take her money.
The second scene is one of the dramatic high points of the movie. All through the movie,Scarlett nurses secret dreams or running away with Melanie’s husband Ashley. One day,Scarlett and Ashley are caught embracing each other in the lumber shop. The two women who see them together scandalize the whole town with the news. Later that night Melanie throws a surprise birthday party for Ashley. Rhett demands that Scarlett go to the party as invited,so that Melanie can have the public satisfaction of throwing Scarlett out of her home. Scarlett arrives at the door dressed up in a red gown,. The fiddler playingFor He’s a Jolly Good Fellowsuddenly stops playing,and all the guests gasp at her appearance. All eyes turn to Melanie,to see what she will do. But Melanie walks all the way across the room greets Scarlett with open arms,and asks her to help receive the other guests. Then Melanie takes her by the arm and escorts her through the gauntlet of people in the room who had all judged her and wanted to see her thrown out. InGone With the Wind,Melanie Wilkes as a Christian never judged another person,even when it appeared she had every right and opportunity,even when her whole town would have cheered her if she had. When she died at the end of the movie,Rhett said simply. “She was the only truly kind person I have ever known.” I think this is a tremendous commentary on the need for us to stop judging people,no matter who they are. Jesus is ultimately calling for us to love,to have compassion,and to show kindness and mercy toward others.
When Jesus said “do not judge” what was He meaning? This command in the original Greek means,”Do not speak or think ill of,decide against,or judge”This is not a suggestion Jesus makes for our relationships with others,nor is it something we might do for spiritual extra credit. This is a command from Jesus, and we are to obey it. Jesus does not mince words here. In the OT,we read about David who had a sexual encounter with Bathsheba and tried to cover it up. Nathan brought a case to David to judge. It was about a rich man with many sheep who stole the only ewe lamb of a poor man. David was very angry,and his judgment against the thief was harsh: “As the LORD lives,surely the man who has done this deserves to die.” Then Nathan said,”You are the man!” You see how David’s angry judgment blew up in his face? There is a deadly reaction happening when we judge others,because our judgment inevitably comes home to visit us. On the other hand,have you ever felt unjustly judged? By something that had NOTHING to do with who you were? Have you ever unjustly judged someone else? Of course you have. We’ve all had that happen,and we’ve all done it to others; judged people based on how they look,rather than who they are. We judge people on,how they sound,where they are from,their race,their age,their weight,their gender,whatever. We judge their worth,their value,Why does this happen? It happens because we typically judge others most harshly in areas where we ourselves are the weakest but are in denial of our weakness. We might judge another harshly because they get angry,because you yourself get very angry. We need to be careful of this because when I point the finger in judgment at someone else,the other three fingers folded back in my own hand are pointing right back at me. We forget that we can’t fix anybody. Only the Lord can solve others’ problems,
So what is the main problem here in verses 3 and 4? It is profound blindness! This blindness is seen in the command of the log-infested eye doctor in verse 4: “let me fix your problem.” We forget that we can’t fix anybody. Only the Lord can solve others’ problems,and he won’t use a blind man who is so unaware of his own arrogance and personal penchant to sin that he commands someone else to let him fix their problem This blindness has gotten to the point of being ridiculous! In the end,if we want to become a part of Jesus’ salvation of the blind in this world,we must go to him to utterly remove our own blindness. Thus,once again,we must leave all judgment to him. And let judgment begin with me first.