Don’t Jump (To Conclusions)
19 March 2021
Reading: Joshua 3-6; 1 Corinthians 4
So be careful not to jump to conclusions before the Lord returns as to whether or not someone is faithful. When the Lord comes, he will bring our deepest secrets to light and will reveal our private motives. And God will give to everyone whatever praise is due. (1 Corinthians 4:5 NLT)
The Corinthian believers were divided in their opinions of “Who’s On First!” They variously thought that either Peter or Apollos or Paul was the real number one spokesperson for Jesus. Some of them had become apostle “groupies.” Their judgmental and opinionated behavior was dividing the church into camps. Dividing the church is not good.
I’m an analytical thinker. I tend to want to figure out why something happened, or what makes something work, or what the outcome will be. So I carry that over into observations of people, and tend (though frequently in error) to think I know whether they are right or wrong, or what motivates them, or what they intended by saying or doing something.
Jesus was really clear about the danger and consequences of judging others based on outward appearance. The New Testament writers picked up that theme, and were also very clear about the dangers of judging others.
I’m doing a little better on this. As I get older, I think I’m judging people less quickly and less critically. Maybe it’s maturity, or maybe it’s that I am realizing I’m getting closer to that day when Jesus will bring our deepest secrets to light and will reveal our private motives. I’m going to include one of my favorite poems here, because it expresses my heart on this:
WHEN EARTH'S LAST PICTURE IS PAINTED
RUDYARD KIPLING - 1892
When Earth's last picture is painted and the tubes are twisted and dried,
When the oldest colours have faded, and the youngest critic has died,
We shall rest, and, faith, we shall need it – lie down for an eon or two,
Till the Master of All Good Workmen shall put us to work anew.
And those that were good shall be happy: they shall sit in a golden chair;
They shall splash at a ten-league canvas with brushes of comets’ hair.
They shall find real saints to draw from – Magdalene, Peter, and Paul;
They shall work for an age at a sitting and never be tired at all!
And only The Master shall praise us, and only The Master shall blame;
And no one shall work for money, and no one shall work for fame,
But each for the joy of the working, and each, in his separate star,
Shall draw the Thing as he sees it for the God of Things as They are!
Father, Please forgive me for jumping to conclusions about others – about their motives and their actions. I hate this when I do it, I repent, and I ask you to cleanse me of the sin and guilt of judging others. Amen.