Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Discerning Between Judgments, Admonitions and Warnings

Today's Turning Point email message is called, "Leave Judging to the Judge." Here's the message:

Tuesday, July 11

Leave Judging to the Judge

Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts.
1 Corinthians 4:5a

Recommended Reading Matthew 7:1-6

In a 1993 Christianity Today article (April 5, p. 17), Stephen Brown recalled the words of the British preacher F. B. Meyer concerning judging others. Meyer pointed out that when we see a brother or sister in sin, there are two things we do not know: First, we don't know how hard he or she tried not to sin; second, we don't know the strength of the force that assailed him or her. Brown added a third unknown: We don't know what we would have done in the same situation.


To those three wise observations, we can add a fourth from the apostle Paul: The true Judge, Jesus Christ, is coming and He will bring to light everything that is now hidden to the eyes and heart of man. Therefore, since the true Judge is coming, we should "judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes." When we judge another, we usurp the role given by God to Christ alone (John 5:22). Next time you're tempted to judge another, remember these four reasons not to judge - especially the last one.

The only person we are qualified and authorized to judge is ourself (1 Corinthians 11:31).

If you judge people, you have no time to love them.
Mother Teresa

Read-Thru-the-Bible

Proverbs 30:1 - Ecclesiastes 1:18



Now I ask. What Christian has never been accused of judging others? Can you honestly name anyone? I know I can't. Even Billy Graham, as beloved as he is throughout the world has been judged by others for some of the things he has done and said in the past. One that comes to mind was how people judged his decision to preach in the former Soviet Union (when it was still under communist rule).

I appreciate Dr. David Jeremiah's teaching, preaching and email messages of encouragement. But I think that this particular email did not cover the subject of judging clearly enough.

Does that statement make me guilty of "judging" Dr. Jeremiah?
Is that statement more of an admonition than judgment?
Is it a statement of warning?
Or, is it a discernment on my part?


Before I continue, lets list the definitions of all these words. (All from Dictionary.com)

1. Discerning -

v. dis·cerned, dis·cern·ing, dis·cerns

v. tr.
To perceive with the eyes or intellect; detect.

To recognize or comprehend mentally.

To perceive or recognize as being different or distinct; distinguish. See Synonyms at see1.

v. intr.
To perceive differences.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
[Middle English discernen, from Old French discerner, from Latin discernere, to separate : dis-, apart; see dis- + cernere, to perceive; see krei- in Indo-European Roots.]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth EditionCopyright © 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company.Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

discerning

adj 1: having or revealing keen insight and good judgment; "a discerning critic"; "a discerning reader" [ant: undiscerning]

2: unobtrusively perceptive and sympathetic; "a discerning editor"; "a discreet silence" [syn: discreet]

3: quick to understand; "a kind and apprehensive friend"- Nathaniel Hawthorne [syn: apprehensive]

4: able to make or detect effects of great subtlety; sensitive; "discerning taste"; "a discerning eye for color"

WordNet ® 2.0, © 2003 Princeton University

*******

2. Judgment -


judg·ment also judge·ment
n.

The act or process of judging; the formation of an opinion after consideration or deliberation.

The mental ability to perceive and distinguish relationships; discernment: Fatigue may affect a pilot's judgment of distances.

The capacity to form an opinion by distinguishing and evaluating: His judgment of fine music is impeccable.

The capacity to assess situations or circumstances and draw sound conclusions; good sense: She showed good judgment in saving her money. See Synonyms at reason.

An opinion or estimate formed after consideration or deliberation, especially a formal or authoritative decision: awaited the judgment of the umpire.

Law.
A determination of a court of law; a judicial decision.
A court act creating or affirming an obligation, such as a debt.
A writ in witness of such an act.
An assertion of something believed.
A misfortune believed to be sent by God as punishment for sin.
Judgment The Last Judgment.
[Middle English jugement, from Old French, from jugier, to judge, from Latin idicre. See judge.]

*******

3. Admonition -

ad·mo·ni·tion
n.
Mild, kind, yet earnest reproof.
Cautionary advice or warning.
[Middle English amonicioun, from Old French amonition, from Latin admoniti, admonitin-, from admonitus, past participle of admonre, to admonish. See admonish.]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth EditionCopyright © 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company.Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights
reserved.

admonition
n 1: cautionary advice about something imminent (especially imminent danger) [syn: monition, warning, word of advice] 2: a firm rebuke [syn: admonishment, monition]

WordNet ® 2.0, © 2003 Princeton University

*******

4. Warning -

warn·ing
n.
An intimation, threat, or sign of impending danger or evil.
Advice to beware.
Counsel to desist from a specified undesirable course of action.
A cautionary or deterrent example.
Something, such as a signal, that warns. adj.
Acting or serving to warn: a warning light; warning words.

warn
v. warned, warn·ing, warns v. tr.
To make aware in advance of actual or potential harm, danger, or evil.
To admonish as to action or manners.
To notify (a person) to go or stay away: warned them off the posted property.
To notify or apprise in advance: They called and warned me that they might be delayed. v. intr.
To give a warning.
[Middle English warnen, from Old English warnian. See wer-4 in Indo-European Roots.]

Source: The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition Copyright © 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

warning
adj : serving to warn; "shook a monitory finger at him"; "an exemplary jail sentence" [syn: admonitory, cautionary, exemplary, monitory, warning(a)]

n 1: a message informing of danger 2: cautionary advice about something imminent (especially imminent danger) [syn: admonition, monition, word of advice]

WordNet ® 2.0, © 2003 Princeton University

*******
O.K. With those definitions in mind, let's look at some Scriptures.

Discern:

1Ki 3:9 Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?

1Ki 3:11 And God said unto him, Because thou hast asked this thing, and hast not asked for thyself long life; neither hast asked riches for thyself, nor hast asked the life of thine enemies; but hast asked for thyself understanding to discern judgment;

Job 6:30 Is there iniquity in my tongue? cannot my taste discern perverse things?

Eze 44:23 And they shall teach my people [the difference] between the holy and profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean.

Mal 3:18 Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.

Mat 16:3 And in the morning, [It will be] foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowring. O [ye] hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not [discern] the signs of the times?

Luk 12:56 [Ye] hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky and of the earth; but how is it that ye do not discern this time?

Hbr 5:14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, [even] those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

What do we find within these verses? We find that we are to:

1. Discern between good and bad.
2. Understanding to discern judgment.
3. Discern between the righteous and the wicked.
4. Discern between those who serve God and those who do not.
5. Discern perverse things.
6. Discern between the holy and profane.
7. Discern between the clean and the unclean.
8. Discern the signs of the times.
9. Discern both good and evil.

Practicing and utilizing discernment is not the same thing as imposing judgment. This is the error that is being promoted (unfortunately) between today's liberal Christian leaders and thinkers and today's traditional Christian leaders and thinkers.

Let's look at the term "admonition" in the Bible:

1Cr 10:11 Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.

Eph 6:4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.


Tts 3:10
A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject;

Tts 3:11
Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself.

Ouch on those last two verses from Titus! It helps to read most of the chapter in Titus along with those verses in order to better understand what is being said.


Tts 3:1
Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work,
Tts 3:2
To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, [but] gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men.
Tts 3:3
For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, [and] hating one another.
Tts 3:4
But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared,
Tts 3:5
Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
Tts 3:6
Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;
Tts 3:7
That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
Tts 3:8
[This is] a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.
Tts 3:9
But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain.
Tts 3:10
A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject;
Tts 3:11
Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself.

What do we learn from these verses? Is it right to admonish a fellow Christian believer who is perceived as a heretic, subverted and sinneth? I would think so, wouldn't you fellow Christian believers? If I am wrong about something that Scripture doesn't support as true I know that I would want fellow believers to call me on it! That is known as correction...not judgment!

Pro 15:10 Correction [is] grievous unto him that forsaketh the way: [and] he that hateth reproof shall die.

Jer 5:3 O LORD, [are] not thine eyes upon the truth? thou hast stricken them, but they have not grieved; thou hast consumed them, [but] they have refused to receive correction: they have made their faces harder than a rock; they have refused to return.

Jer 7:28 But thou shalt say unto them, This [is] a nation that obeyeth not the voice of the LORD their God, nor receiveth correction: truth is perished, and is cut off from their mouth.

Hab 1:12 [Art] thou not from everlasting, O LORD my God, mine Holy One? we shall not die. O LORD, thou hast ordained them for judgment; and, O mighty God, thou hast established them for correction.

Zep 3:2 She obeyed not the voice; she received not correction; she trusted not in the LORD; she drew not near to her God.

2Ti 3:16 All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
2Ti 3:17
That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

Admonition is a way for someone to be corrected when their worldview has been skewed away from the truth in Scripture!

Let's look at the term "warning."

Jer 6:10 To whom shall I speak, and give warning, that they may hear? behold, their ear [is] uncircumcised, and they cannot hearken: behold, the word of the LORD is unto them a reproach; they have no delight in it.

Eze 3:17 Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me.

Eze 3:18 When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked [man] shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.

Eze 3:2 Again, When a righteous [man] doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumblingblock before him, he shall die: because thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at thine hand.

Eze 33:4 Then whosoever heareth the sound of the trumpet, and taketh not warning; if the sword come, and take him away, his blood shall be upon his own head.

Eze 33:5 He heard the sound of the trumpet, and took not warning; his blood shall be upon him. But he that taketh warning shall deliver his soul.

So, I ask each person reading this to answer whether or not the "judgment" verses can be seen as a blanket statement against judgment of any kind, or, is it more in keeping with the eternal judgment that is reserved exclusively for the Creator of the universe?

With all the verses calling us unto discernment, telling us to admonish others who are in error, and warn those who do not believe by sharing the Gospel with them, I have to conclude that the type of judgment stated in Matthew 7:1-6 is not a statement meant to say that we should throw away all judgment and discernment. However, it is meant more to guide us towards proper discernment, admonitions, and warnings and the importance of sharing this in such a way as to help lead others towards the kingdom of God.

One of the reasons that I think this is so is because of what Jesus says next in Matthew 7:6 -

Mat 7:6
Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.


How would you perceive Jesus' words here?
Discernment?
Judgment?
Admonition?
Warning?

7 comments:

Dani said...

Hi Christine - Interesting post.

I actually wrote about something similar not too long ago.

Here it is: Judge with Righteous Judgment

“Do Not Judge” – That is probably one of the biggest clichés that Christians have tangled themselves up in these days. It is probably one of the most popular quotes that Christians and non-Christians alike use today so they won't be judged for their sin. Yet, it is the verse that is most consistently taken out of context.

Matthew 7:1 says, “Do not judge so that you will not be judged” – Yes we all know that part. But when you keep reading, you find that Jesus says in verse 5 - “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” When we repent of our sin, take the log out of our own eye, then we can see clearly to judge.

Jesus said, “Do not judge…you hypocrite.” I cannot tell a homosexual that their lifestyle is destructive if I too am homosexual. But since I am not, I won’t be a hypocrite in telling them that it's wrong.

Jesus repeatedly taught men to "judge rightly," insisting they “judge with righteous judgment,” and He praised a man in Luke who “rightly judged.”

The Apostle Paul shamed the Corinthian Christians because no one among them was willing to “judge the smallest matters.” As the Apostle wrote, “He who is spiritual judges all things” for “we have the mind of Christ” (1 Cor. 2:15-16).

1 Corinthians 6:2-5 -- “Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more, things that pertain to this life? I say this to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you, not even one, who will be able to judge between his brethren?”

Jesus said in Luke 12:56-57 -- “Hypocrites! …Why don’t you judge for yourselves what is right?”

Jesus also said in John 7:24 -- “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.”

God warns against “hypocrisy” repeatedly in the Bible. "Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good" (Romans 12:9). God commands men to “abhor what is evil” - Yet to abhor evil, someone must first judge evil. Thus, unable to judge, large numbers of Christians become hypocrites by obeying the Hypocrites Golden Rule. Since the hypocrite doesn’t want to be judged, he judges not, as Jesus said, “Judge not… you hypocrite.”

For “judge not” is simply a hypocrites application of do unto others as you would have them do unto you. “For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged.” Judge others as you would have them do unto you inverted is Judge not if you do not want to be judged.

“Judge Not” is the Hypocritical Oath.

God will reward those who judge rightly -- “ It is not good to show partiality in judgment... Those who rebuke the wicked will have delight, and a good blessing will come upon them.” (Prov. 24:23-25).

=============================

Dani said...

P.S. - Thanks for all of your great comments on my blog.

Mark said...

Hey Christine! awesome post!

Re: Judging
Jesus declares that the person judging will be judged (Matt 7 v. 1) because judging assumes a divine prerogative; final judgment belongs to God alone, and those who seek to judge others now will answer then for usurping God's position (see also 6:12-15).
Many people (Liberal Christians) have ripped this passage out of context and used it as some sort of 'force field' to protect them from facing sin and the importance of repentence..

Jesus warns us not to assume God's prerogative to condemn the guilty; he is not warning us not to discern truth from error (see 7:15-23). Further, Jesus does not oppose offering correction, but only offering correction in the wrong spirit (v. 5; compare 18:15-17; Gal 6:1-5).
Jesus' contemporaries often affirmed His principle and even used the same illustration(Just like Liberal Christians do), but Jesus demands more than agreement from disciples: he demands obedience (vv. 24-27). That obedience part, seems to be pushed aside with the help of the Great Liar! Hence, the attitude 'were all sinners, live and let live' etc..Nothing could be more un Christ like, and nothing could be more destructive to the body of Christ, the church.

Dani said...

It's funny how the same Christians who preach "Don't Judge" and "Love your neighbor" will in the same breath call me a hateful, intolerant, judgmental, bigotted monster.

Such hypocrisy!

Christinewjc said...

Hi Dani and Mark,

Thanks for your excellent posts and comments here! I really appreciate your input...adds so much to the original post!

Dani, I guess my last post addressed to Deb in the "Telling the Truth About Yourself" angered and/or upset her enough that she has chosen to abandon any continued conversation with me. Ah well...I tried.

I added a post addressed to Thane in your Judge with Righteous Judgment blogpost. (Your original post is excellent, BTW).

I can't know for sure, but I think that many in the liberal-leaning Christian crowd regard you, Mark and I as Thane (mistakenly) does. They seem to believe, somehow, that we are claiming that "we are using our perceived "good morality" as the reason that we will escape God's wrath, rather than the fact that we do indeed recognize Jesus Christ's sacrifice for our own sins as the only reason we are forgiven for them. Do you think that could be what they think about us and what we are trying to convey in our posts and comments?

I said on your site:

"That's the difference between one who is truly repentant and knows that they didn't deserve the mercy and grace afforded to them through the sacrificial death of Christ at the cross than between one who is simply remorseful, but thinks that their newfound "morality" is what saves them!

The true repentant believer always knows and acknowledges that their sin would have condemned them if it were not for Jesus Christ. Therefore, they WANT TO KEEP THE LAW AND THE COMMANDMENTS BECAUSE OF THEIR LOVE FOR, RESPECT OF, AND GRATEFULNESS TO JESUS!

Jesus said, "If you love me, you will keep my commandments."


We know that we fall short of God's perfect standard. But out of love and reverence for our Lord, we do our best not to fall back into the same sins over and over again. Repentance means the person "confesses and turns away from past sins." Remorse means "I'm sorry I got caught." This is compounded with the wrong thoughts and the wrong perception that, "Oh well, I'm already forgiven so I can keep sinning." That's where the saying, "God forbid" comes from. People don't use that phrase much anymore. But it is one that rightly divides truth from error. Asking God to forbid us from falling back into the same sins means that we are allowing the Holy Spirit's leading in our lives; not our own willful, fleshly desires that can easily lead us to fall back into the same sins.

Christinewjc said...

Hi Mark,

Awesome comments! Particularly this:

Mark: "Many people (Liberal Christians) have ripped this passage out of context and used it as some sort of 'force field' to protect them from facing sin and the importance of repentence.."

Star Trek fan by any chance? (heh heh) I think you are definitely on to something with that statement!

Mark: "Jesus warns us not to assume God's prerogative to condemn the guilty; he is not warning us not to discern truth from error (see 7:15-23). Further, Jesus does not oppose offering correction, but only offering correction in the wrong spirit (v. 5; compare 18:15-17; Gal 6:1-5).
Jesus' contemporaries often affirmed His principle and even used the same illustration(Just like Liberal Christians do), but Jesus demands more than agreement from disciples: he demands obedience (vv. 24-27). That obedience part, seems to be pushed aside with the help of the Great Liar! Hence, the attitude 'were all sinners, live and let live' etc..Nothing could be more un Christ like, and nothing could be more destructive to the body of Christ, the church."

MARK!! I think that you have truly revealed the "Prime Directive" of the Liberal left Christian mindset and how they blatantly refuse to "break out" of such a directive! Note, especially the part indicated in bold!

Anna said...

Hi Christine -

It's interesting that those who declare they do not care what the Bible says try to use it against us. They also attempt to justify their positions Biblically. How bizarre is that?

Anna