|John Goh||012 207 firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Dr Lee Fook Sin||019 230 email@example.com|
|Moh Ee Lin||019 273 firstname.lastname@example.org|
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|Susanah Ng||012 firstname.lastname@example.org|
Kindly contact any of these Gamma Facilitators. They will be hosting Zoom meetings for Discussions every Wednesday starting from April 1, 2020.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS – STUDY 14
Please look at the questions and discuss the answers. The case histories are designed to let you apply what theoretical knowledge you have gleaned from the study. There are intentionally many more questions and case histories than you can manage in one session but this is designed to
cover the many and varied needs of the individuals in the church hence please pick and choose which ones to discuss as long as it gets people sharing and applying the Word to real life situations. Never feel obligated to finish all the questions. The answers will be posted on the web the next day
This verse has often caused a lot of confusion as the word judge and in Greek Krino can have a range of meanings but mainly between Moral discernment and Moral Condemnation.
Jesus is not asking his disciples to be naive simpletons who are not allowed to discern anything like the proverbial three monkeys who see no evil hear no evil and speak no evil or someone whose ethical stand is fluid and relative and will not make any conclusions on anything. If Jesus is asking us to not judge in the sense of not to discern then are we to be totally blind to the atrocities and evil character of people like Pol Pot , Stalin or Hitler?
The Apostle Paul does the same thing in Phil 3: 2 Look out for the dogs, look out for the evildoers, look out for those who mutilate the flesh. He is warning about Jewish folk who are trying to force Christians in Galatia to undergo circumcision in order to gain salvation and he judges them as evil doers and derides them as dogs like Jesus does When Paul writes to Titus he says in Titus 2 10 As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, 11 knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is selfcondemned.
He instructed Titus to make a judgement call.
So Jesus is not against judging and in fact in John 7:24 he instructed the disciple to judge by saying “Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.”
Is Jesus contradicting himself?
No he is not because the kind of judgement he is prohibiting is moral condemnation, he is prohibiting a critical spirit a condemning attitude He is referring to the people who always assume that they know the underlying motives behind every behaviour and that behaviour along seen from the outside is ample evidence of the personal character and moral standing.
“That’s because judgment creates a line. The line is labeled “better than” or “smarter than” or “more righteous than” the person who needs help.
Help knows no such line. It just knows how to help.
When Jesus taught on judgment, not only did he tell us not to judge, and to remove the massive timber from our own eye before trying to find the speck of dust in someone else’s eye first, but he then showed us the purpose of removing the speck from someone else’s eye: it’s to help them.
The Christian purpose of stepping into someone else’s world is not to judge someone, but to help them.
If you’re not trying to help, don’t bother. You’ll probably only make it worse. And if you are trying to help, you’ll likely notice something else has disappeared: any sense of judgment you once carried.” Carey Nieuhof
1. You believe that everyone is out to get you.
2. You expect other people to be consistent all the time.
3. You struggle to see beyond a person’s flaws.
4. You easily skip to conclusions.
5. You struggle to tolerate ambiguity and uncertainty.
6. You’re intolerant of people unlike you.
7. You’re generally pessimistic about life.
8. You tend to believe people are either ‘good’ or ‘bad.’
9. You struggle to truly appreciate or see the beauty in others.
10. You have low self-worth.
11. You feel anxious around other people.
12. You’re suspicious and untrusting.
13. You have a strong inner critic who judges you.
1. Double standards….most of us have a different moral code for our selves and use it to applyto other people. We become God in a sense with the right to determine what is good and evil and we apply own standard to others so that we come out looking better and they come out
2. Judging places us in danger because when we are busy commenting and condemning the behaviour of others we inevitably fail to notice far greater sins in ourselves and ironically it is the sin of judgementalism which is so glaringly greater in our lives that had lead us to condemn others in the first place. Judging is therefore the proverbial canary in the coal mine, the alarm bell to us that something in our own lives is wrong.
3. The act of judging on our part is actually parodied in the illustration simply because it is an illogical and an embrassingly stupid thing to do as it tells us that we are simply not qualified. We are always biased.
This does not mean that if we are unkind and unfair then God will be unkind and unfair to us in retaliation. God is described in Matt 6: 45 as the “Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” He is totally fair even to most undeserving evil person on the face of the earth.
This verse must be taken in the same manner as
Matt 6: 12 and forgive us our debts,as we also have forgiven our debtors
Matt 6:14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, 15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
If we do not forgive others , it just means that we too have not been forgiven. Our unforgiven hardened attitude towards others betrays a spiritual reality that we too have not experienced what true grace and forgiveness from God because an authentic spiritual experience will transform us into a forgiving people . In the same way a judgmental attitude excludes us from God’s pardon because it betrays an broken spirit an unrepentant attitude which is evidence that we have never truly sought and received God’s forgiveness because we are still using our own efforts and works to justify ourselves. Hence our judging others harshly is simply the outward evidence of how we intrinsically feel about our selves and God.
Richard J Foster writes in his book celebrations of disciple summarises it very well when he writes “When we genuinely believe that inner transformation is God’s work and not ours, we can put to rest our passion to set others straight’.
The truly blessed disciple will be poor in spirit and not so full of himself that he is judging and condemning others and the one who has truly received mercy will be merciful. A judgemental hypercritical spirit is a huge warning siren to us that there is something spiritually wrong with us.
Psychologist have the “Attribution Theory” which divides the our judgements into two kinds situational or dispositional attributions. We walk into a hospital and the nurse has a sour face and is rude to us. We can react in only two ways. We can give her the benefit of the doubt and assume she might be irritable because she has had a bad day or is having emotional problems. This is the situational attribution and is non-judgemental. We are just having the moral discernment to state the situation as it is, she was rude and nothing can change that truth. However it is a whole different ball game when we read in to that single event and draw a conclusion that she was rude because she a nasty bad person.
We have gone beyond the available evidence and drawn a conclusion on her underlying motives that she is rude because she is a bad person we have extrapolated the situation to diagnose an underlying character flaw and this is a dispositional attribution and this is what Jesus is asking us not to do because it is judgemental behaviour because we don’t have enough data on her on this only one encounter to safely conclude she is a nasty person. We almost never do the same to ourselves because we conveniently find some motive within ourselves to excuse ourselves because we will not be capable of character assassinating our selves. Imagine one of us being rude and then instinctively conclude that we are rude because we are insensitive and a bad worthless person. Our egos protect us and prevent this overly hasty assessment of ourselves. So we judge ourselves by our intentions …oh we were too tired and irritable or did not have a good meal. We do not afford others the same luxury and we judge them from a safe distance and assign them a character flaw and worse still we tell others about it!
Judgemental people are therefore in Jesus eyes hypocrites as hypocrites are two faced. They show a morally acceptable or respectable front but this hides a deeper uglier reality of a broken character.
Judgemental people display an outward facade of moral superiority to feel better about themselves but this is only a facade and hides the inner reality of real ugliness and sin which they are not prepared or are blind to admit. Hence judgemental people are the true hypocrites.
The dogs and pigs are metaphors for people who will be insensitive and even antagonistic to truth and in this case the truth of the gospel. Hence wisdom dictates that we not waste our time by persisting in our message to them when they are not in a position to be able to appreciate or accept the message.
The church is supposed to be different, holy, ethically good hence morally superior to the world in its own judgement. The church looks at the world and often judges itself better morally and the world inferior which then invites the world retaliate and search for the church’s own failures and expose them. So judgementalism is a two edge sword . We will be judged the same way we judge others.
Answers are available.