I have to start my day with the newspaper. Not the news, mind you- that is always the same, always bad, and useless to me. I like the Crossword, the Word Jumble and Cryptograms. This morning the Scram-Lets (you unscramble words, pull out the specified letters and then unscramble them to complete a corny statement) had the statement,”Our days are happier when we give people a bit of our heart rather than a piece of our mind.”
It reminded me of a silly joke:
A man got a flat tire and was in front of an asylum for the insane, changing the tire. One of the inmates was standing at the fence watching as the man took off the bad tire and put the lug nuts in the hubcap. After putting on the spare tire, he reached for the hubcap and accidentally knocked it, sending all the lug nuts down a drain. He sat, dejected, not knowing what to do. That’s when the inmate said, “Hey, Pal- why not take one lug nut off each of the other three tires and use them for the spare, since you can safely drive with three lug nuts. As soon as you come to an auto store you can buy 4 lug nuts to replace the missing ones.”
The man was amazed, and said, “That’s a great idea! What are you doing in there?” The inmate answered,”Hey, I may be crazy but I’m not stupid!”
So, nu? What do these two things have in common, and why the reference to Sammy Davis, Jr.’s well-known schtick from Laugh-In?
It’s all about judging people. The Manual tells us not to judge, lest we ourselves will be judged, but it also tells us that we will judge the nations. Seems sort of contradictory, doesn’t it? Don’t judge others but judge the nations?
In fact, it is not contradictory, but edifying. Saying we are not to judge others lest we be judged is telling us that the way we judge people is how we, ourselves, will be judged by God. That means think about what you are thinking about! By careful to observe, make sure you have facts and witnesses that are trustworthy, and alway, always, always use mercy when coming to a decision. Just the same way that God judges us.
The Scram-Lets statement shows mercy and restraint, allowing love and compassion to intercede where prideful judgement may be starting to rear it’s ugly head. And the story about the man with the flat tire shows that we can’t tell about a person simply by their environment, or what their situation may be at that time. People in jail for committing a crime may have done T’Shuvah and are now ready to be useful and good citizens. People who have had drug problems, or friends who have hurt us, may have cleaned themselves up, asked for forgiveness and turned from hurtful ways.
I am not saying forgive everyone and trust them again, Forgiveness is something we are commanded to do, but trust needs to be earned. If someone stole from me, and asked forgiveness, I may allow them back into my life, but I won’t leave them alone in my house. There is a difference between being a compassionate and forgiving person, and being an idiot. As Scotty said in Star Trek all those years ago, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me!”
To judge the nations we need to start small, so let’s start with ourselves. Judge how you judge. Look at yourself, try as best you can to be honest and impartial, and determine if you judge based on what you see and hear, or how you react to the situation. Make sure you remove that log from your eye, first. If someone does something that you find personally disgusting, are they already guilty? Maybe they are; however, that determination should not be from your personal feelings but from the facts. I have been at the wrong end of what I called a “Kangaroo Court”, where I was actually told I might be written up at work for sexual harassment. I asked about the facts, and was told that the HR Department had done a thorough investigation. I asked how could they say that, since no one asked me about it? I thought a thorough investigation meant asking all parties involved, especially the one accused. Seems that all they needed was someone to complain and a complete statement, and that’s all it took for the accused to be found guilty.
(For the record, the witness never even made a formal complaint or wrote a statement. In fact, what happened was someone in the cafeteria, who didn’t even work for the company, was listening to another conversation and thought they heard my name mentioned by the other people who were talking. They thought they heard them relate a joke I had supposedly told and the eavesdropper/complainer thought that someone could have thought that joke might be unacceptable. That was my terrible crime. And the entire process didn’t even meet the company’s standards and practices outlined in their own Personnel Manual. It all boiled down to nothing, other than the HR Director having so little useful work that she had to fly off the handle and over-react, hoping she had a nice, juicy sexual harassment case to process.)
The Bible tells us that we need at least two witnesses. This is in relation to capital crimes, but I think it is a good rule for any time one person is claiming a wrong against another person. Of course, there aren’t always going to be witnesses, which is why it is so important for us to learn how to judge rightly, or maybe I should say, righteously.
Practice judging now. Don’t worry about opportunities- they are everywhere. When you see a homeless person, what’s your first thought? Well, stifle it. Think about why that person may be homeless. When you see someone sick or ailing, do you think how horrible it must be to have to go through that, or are you only hoping they don’t come anywhere near you? When you hear about someone in the news or on TV doing something wrong, do you judge against the entire class of people they belong to (i.e., all athletes, all actors, all politicians, etc?)
We have plenty of opportunities to learn how to judge, to learn to restrain our initial emotional reactions and allow our thoughts and reason to take charge. We do need to go with our “gut” on occasions, but overall it is our compassion, our forgiveness, and the rules and examples set for us by God and Yeshua that we should turn to when judging others.
When Messiah returns to take charge of the world, He will set up His court and assign those who will judge the nations. Do you want to be one of those? Then practice now so that you will be ready and worthy of that title.
Here come da judges!! Here come da judges!!