Opinions and Judgments
18 December 2015
Reading: James 2; Psalm 143
My dear friends, don't let public opinion influence how you live out our glorious, Christ-originated faith. (James 2:1 MSG)
Whatever culture we’re in and at whatever level of society we live, we’re still in a battle between our Spirit-given values and our culturally-learned prejudices. We also live with the struggle between the new Christ-nature and the old self-nature on the inside.
It’s way too easy to look at clothes, cars, houses, titles, and personalities and make preferential and prejudicial judgments. Sometimes those preferential judgments are motivated by fear of public opinion, other times by the desire for personal or corporate gain, other times by absorbed cultural values, and other times by personal prejudice.
8 You do well when you complete the Royal Rule of the Scriptures: “Love others as you love yourself.” 12 Talk and act like a person expecting to be judged by the Rule that sets us free. 13 For if you refuse to act kindly, you can hardly expect to be treated kindly. Kind mercy wins over harsh judgment every time. (James 2:8, 12-13 MSG)
Whatever motivates wrong judgments and preferential treatment, it doesn’t come from the heart of Jesus. Whenever I let harsh judgment win over kind mercy, I’m out of harmony with the heart of God.
I must discipline myself to check every quickly-formed opinion and judgment and ask: 1) “Why do I feel this way?” 2) “How does Jesus think and feel about this person or situation?” 3) “What can I do to show kind mercy and not harsh judgment?”
Holding myself accountable to check my opinions and judgments will allow God’s Spirit and Word to re-program my values and re-shape my opinions, judgments, words, and actions as I “…live out my glorious, Christ-originated faith.”
Father, my opinions and judgments are all over the map. I know I’ve learned a lot and that I’m doing better, but I’m not satisfied until you’re satisfied. I still make far too many quick judgments based on outward appearances and the opinions of others. Please continue to teach me and correct me by your Word, by life experiences, and by the promptings of your Holy Spirit. Amen.