I wanted to take time this week to reflect on a weakness of mine that needs to be explored. After thinking through the first blog post and podcast this week about self-analyzation and responsibility I began to notice my flawed perception of people and scenarios. Ultimately, I have come to the realization that I am a terrible judge.
I have always seen myself as an excellent judge of character and having a keen sense of what other people are feeling or thinking. I believe that I do have these characteristics but the degree to which I am accurate is far from perfect, and I believe works to my detriment at times. For example, I was working a job once where I sincerely believed that my boss hated me and that I was going to have to quit, literally the next day he offered me a promotion. Once I was so convinced that my wife was nagging and micromanaging me, just to realize that she had done everything for me in preparation for my dad’s funeral and that I was too stressed to even recognize, let alone appreciate her.
I have been so wrong on judgments that true disdain for forms of entertainment were transformed into love after just a couple of minutes of exposure, two examples being anime and Dungeons and Dragons. If you know me, you are aware that I am all about productivity, self-improvement, and non-fiction literature. I seriously don’t have any other hobbies. The idea of watching cartoons and pretending to live in a fictional world was utterly repulsive to me. I was then convinced to watch an anime show, of whose viewers I had judged as losers and LOVED it! You can do so much with animation that would never be possible with actual humans, and I just didn’t have the eyes to see the unique characteristics of the genre. Same goes for the fantasy game, Dungeons, and Dragons. My brothers convinced me to play one night, and it was amazing. It was like having a story play out in my imagination. I was such a harsh critic of those who would participate in these activities, but once immersed into it, I totally got it!
These are just a few simple examples of harsh judgments that I made that were completely wrong, and reflection on these instances have made me think about the potential havoc and evil that could be brought on by my judgments.
Learning From The Apostle Paul
Paul is a perfect example of a person who made judgments that would destroy the very people he would one day lead. Imagine for a minute that you build a community around your greatest love, Jesus Christ, and you realize that the very people whom you now would give your life for are the same ones who you would have dragged into the streets to be stoned. In Acts 8:1 and 9:2, Luke shows that Saul (also known as Paul) is the one who authorized the death of Stephen. In 8:3 Saul is noted as taking Christians and throwing them in prison and in 1 Timothy 1:13, Paul self identifies as a former blasphemer and persecutor of Christians, crediting his ignorance in unbelief.
In 1 Timothy 1:13, the line “But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief” captures the very essence of this lesson. We, humans, are so ignorant of that which is divine. We come into this world hating God and by his grace are brought into salvation (Eph 2:8-9). What an act of mercy. Paul literally wrote most of the New Testament, yet wreaked complete havoc upon those he would one day love with his greatest affection. His judgments were so far off the mark that he Christians because of his ignorant unbelief. I now recognize my horrible judgment and the damages that it can cause to those whom I might otherwise love if I wasn’t so blinded by my ignorance.
What Can We Do?
The Christian has no option but to abandon his judgments as final and authoritative, recognizing that it is only the mercy of God that can save a soul and reveal truth. This changes the game entirely. You are not limited by your discernment if you walk with a dependence on the Lord. You can live a life in submission to Christ, knowing that he will protect you through the provisions of his mercy. If you are reading this and you believe and depend on Jesus you are not in this life alone but have the Holy Spirit who will guide you by His grace. When you think about your judgments, consider the gospel message in your perception. If we are striving to be Christ-like, those considerations must be factored into our judgments of others and circumstances. What did Jesus do when he was faced with a difficult circumstance where proper judgment was needed? Jesus turned to the word of God and depended upon the Fathers mercy perfectly (Luke 4:1-13).
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