Harsh Judgments

Life Notes—February 24, 2011

“Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart.”  1 Corinthians 4:5a 

In third grade, my friend’s house (I’ll call him Luke) was between school and my home, so we often walked together.  Halfway between school and Luke’s house lived an annoying female classmate I’ll call Janie.  If Luke and I did not get out of school ahead of her, she would be waiting to taunt us from her porch or yard.  I was petrified of girls at that age, afraid they would try to kiss me or something (and probably secretly hoping they would).  Luke, having four sisters, had no fear of girls, just a huge aversion. 

One day Janie caught Luke and me on the sidewalk and refused to let us pass.  Luke had a book of matches in his pocket and lit one and threw it at her, trying to get her to move out of our way.  Several matches later she moved and we continued on our way, likely discussing the more bothersome of God’s creatures—like mosquitoes and, well, girls. 

The next morning I got called out of class and into the principal’s office.  I knew I was in big trouble.  I also knew I was being judged unfairly because I had not done anything.  Now, Mr. Walters was a calm, soft-spoken man who, in my eyes, was only slightly less worthy of adoration than Jesus.  To think I would disappoint him, or that I would be harshly and wrongly judged by him, was more than my eight-year-old emotions could handle.  Of course, he didn’t call me in because of what I did, he called me in because of what I didn’t do.  He helped me understand that being a passive observer of bad behavior is no better than being an active participant.  As I look back, Mr. Walters certainly knew that some boys who treat girls with disrespect as children, will grow up to be abusive men.  This wise man cared enough to not let this incident pass unchallenged. 

Most often, when we rush to judge others, we are either fearful, ignorant or both.  In the passage above, Paul warns not to pronounce judgment on others because so much is hidden from us.  When light has been shed, most situations look very different.  I judged Janie, a fellow child of God, as a mostly worthless annoyance.  I judged Mr. Walters for not understanding the situation.  It turns out, I was the one lacking understanding.  My fear and ignorance led to poor judgment, as it often does still today. 

This Sunday Tom continues his downtown sermon series “Who Are We?” with “Stewards of God’s Mysteries,” based on 1 Corinthians 4:1-5.  Life worship is at 9:40 in Brady Hall and traditional worship in the sanctuary is at 8:30 and 11:00.  Mitch continues his sermon series at the west campus with “Jesus Pushes: The Limits of Faith,” based on Matthew 6:24-34. Contemporary worship at the west campus is at 9:00 and 11:00. 

Come home to worship this Sunday.  Come explore the mysteries of God with us!

Greg Hildenbrand, Life Music Coordinator

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