I finally finished my daily bible (yes, a bit later than planned) and have been reading through a devotional called “Controlling Your Pests: Ridding Your Life of Bad Habits” by Ross Brodfuehrer.
Its nothing revolutionary but it’s short, concise and still thought provoking.
The first week has been on ridding your life of criticism (the kind directed at others).
Next week, focuses on procrastination. I can’t wait to start that one. Lol.
Anyways, I’ve said all this because I wanted to share an interesting paragraph from today’s reading. The author was making the point that there is a difference between criticism and correction. Criticism is usually negative and correction is usually positive.
Very often in the world and even in the church we hear the phrase “don’t judge me!” Unfortunately, Jesus’ words in Matthew 7:1 “don’t judge,” are widely quoted and taken way out of context.
See, you have to understand what that word “judge” really means there. From what I understand, the word used here actually means “condemn.” So it should be quoted as “don’t condemn,” which unlike we usually understand, refers to eternal condemnation. Not just condemning as in not liking or not agreeing with something.
So, yes, as Christians we are not supposed to make eternal judgments or condemnations. God is the only one who has a right to do so. He’s the one who knows our hearts and actions. He’s the one with omniscience. And he’s the only one to judge fairly. Well, thankfully he doesn’t judge completely fairly…in that his mercy and grace cover His followers. Otherwise we’d all end up in eternal punishment.
And as a side note, while we can’t make the judgment where someone is going to end up, we can say what the Bible says about it. As in, how the Bible says to be forgiven and get to heaven, and what it says about those who don’t choose this open option.
But Jesus’ words in Matt 7:1 aren’t complete. He went on to say “do not judge or you too will be judged. For the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
See, if we condemn others, we’ll be condemned. And how we judge others we too will be judged. Scary, huh?
But that doesn’t mean we aren’t supposed to correct and confront others. That we aren’t supposed to judge them.
Check out Matthew 18:15-17:
“if your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault…”
and Galatians 6:1-5:
“if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently…”
As Christians, we have been commanded to correct each other in love so that we can become more godly and grow up in Christ.
After all, we see numerous examples of godly people confronting/correcting each other: “Jesus confronted the Pharisees…Paul confronted Peter. Nathan confronted King David.” (p.16).
And as Christians we need to be open and honest and humble enough to let other Christians confront us. We should be seeking out and embracing accountability. Not being isolated and defensive whenever someone brings something up to us.
Now here’s the important part, well, the part I wrote this whole post to get to…
There is a difference between criticism and correction. And as Christians we need to be correcting each other in gentleness, love and truth. Not in harsh, angry, and prideful criticism.
“Criticism usually arises out of anger or a superior atttude; correction arises out of humility and concern. Criticism is meant to knock the other person down; correction is meant to lift him up. Criticism is blurted out; correction is preceded by prayer. Criticism hurts both the criticized and the criticizer; correction strengthens both. Criticism is easy to say and ugly to result; correction is hard to do but beautiful in the end.” (p.16)