Balancing our Judgmental Witness in a Turbulent World
Pastor Jim Sanderbeck
March 8, 2021
Over the past 2 weeks, the Holy Spirit has been dealing and speaking to me about judgement—especially judgement as it pertains to people. He has said to me “in your assignment to reach the world around you, be careful of your [people] judgements.” He went on to say, “only righteous judgement can produce true justice. Because natural man judges from the outside in, man’s justice is marred and found incomplete. In My Kingdom, judgement comes from the inside out and is based on love and righteousness. Therefore, My judgements are everlasting and My justice is complete and perfect. Be careful in your judgements.”
Since God has been speaking this to me, I have been working on my “people judging” and pursuing righteous justice. This exploration of judgement has shown me a “tension” that is difficult for the carnal mind to resolve. In this turbulent world right now, finding the right balance is challenging to say the least. The tension:
Matt. 7:1-5 “Do not judge so that you will not be judged. 2 “For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. 3 “Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 “Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? 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.”(NASB)
1Cor, 6:2-3 Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? If the world is judged by you, are you not competent to constitute the smallest law courts? 3 Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more matters of this life? (NASB)
But, the answer for this tension is also in the word. Jesus said: John 5:30 “I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. (NASB) Rendering righteous judgement is found in hearing the voice and knowing the nature and will of the Father. As a son, I am an Ambassador of the Kingdom of God. An ambassador is one who rules, governs and executes with the full authority of the King. Therefore, I must know the King. I must know His nature. I must know His edicts. I must know His voice and His will. This is the example and the teaching of Jesus in John 5:30. It is in this revelation, that I find peace and am able to deal with the tension that is inherent to righteous judgement.
Dealing with the Tension
A disciple of Jesus has a worldview that looks different than the worldview of unbelievers [and those Christians who remain carnal in their thinking]. I call it a “Kingdom worldview.” The carnal contrast is a “natural worldview.” A disciple must intimately know God, must understand the ways of God, must discern the heart, must be willing to discern the intents of the heart, and render judgement in a way that glorifies God. This can only be done with an image that comes from the inside-out—a Kingdom image. To judge from the outside-in—a “natural” image pollutes righteousness and justice cannot and will not be fully (I.e. perfectly) just.
I have come to realize that righteous judgements rendered within the family of God are judged on a different kind of “love scale” than those outside of the family. It is still a scale of love but the condition of the heart produces a different calibration in the scale. The calibration is adjusted by grace. Herein, the tension is felt again.
1Co 6:1 Furthermore, how dare you take a fellow believer to court! It is wrong to drag him before the unrighteous to settle a legal dispute. Isn’t it better to take him before God’s holy believers to settle the matter? 2 Don’t you realize that we, the holy ones, will judge the universe? If the unbelieving world is under your jurisdiction, you should be fully competent to settle these trivial lawsuits among yourselves. 3 For surely you know that we will one day judge angels, let alone these everyday matters. 4 Don’t you realize that you are bringing your issues before civil judges appointed by people who have no standing within the church? 5 What a shame that there is not one within the church who has the spirit of wisdom who could arbitrate these disputes and reconcile the offended parties! 6 It’s not right for a believer to sue a fellow believer—and especially to bring it before the unbelievers. (TPT Bible)
At the cross, at a moment of intense cruelty and pain, the intentional love of Jesus ruled in judgement. We read in Luke 23:34, 39-43 Jesus was saying, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” And they cast lots, dividing up His garments among themselves. 39 One of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse at Him, saying, “Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!” 40 But the other answered, and rebuking him said, “Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41 “And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!” 43 And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.” (NASB)
In the Kingdom of God, we are judged according to a love standard fitting for aware Kingdom citizens. In the natural world of men, a disciple judges man’s ignorance of the truth with love and grace—especially if the heart is discerned as good. We see in the parable of the good and faithful steward, Jesus speaks to this tension in judgement and says:
Luke 12:48 but the one who did not know it, and committed deeds worthy of a flogging, will receive but few. From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more. (NASB)
Within the family of God, Jesus clearly told us we are to covenantally love one another because this is how the world will know who we are.
John 13:34-35 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”(NASB)
Outside of the family of God, grace and love rules because ignorance blinds.
Luke 23:34 But Jesus was saying, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.”(NASB)
Finally, on this very subject of the tension that exists in judgement and justice, Apostle Paul writes to the church at Rome and clearly provides direction for us all. He says:
Rom 11:22-23 So fix your gaze on the simultaneous kindness and strict justice of God. How severely he treated those who fell into unbelief! Yet how tender and kind is his relationship with you. So keep on trusting in his kindness; otherwise, you also will be cut off. 23 God is more than ready to graft back in the natural branches when they turn from clinging to their unbelief to embracing faith. (TPT Bible)
So, in summary, we recognize that there is a tension that exists in rendering righteous judgement that results in true justice. This tension exists because the Kingdom worldview for disciples of Jesus is quite different than the natural worldview of unregenerated men. In the Kingdom, disciples judge from the inside-out, and in the natural, men judge from the outside-in. One is eternal and just while the other is temporal and lacking justice. We also learned that in righteous judgement there is an obligation for the disciple to discern a difference when judging the Kingdom believer and the natural unregenerated man. The unregenerated man is blinded from the truth and must experience a love and grace judgement that points him to Jesus while the believer experiences judgement with a higher level of accountability coming out of the grace and the truths of a loving Father.
In these days of turbulence, be an astute disciple who rightly discerns, and pass every judgement through the windowpane of Kingdom rule. The world and the family of God are counting on YOU.