Listen to: Jeremy Camp, "Christ in Me"
This past week I served as a “telephone standby juror” in Nassau County. Most of are content to do our civic duty, even if there is an inconvenience to our place of employment or for some, a financial burden. Others speak of having time to catch up on reading or texting during lulls as the legal process unfolds. Of course there are some that would avoid jury duty like the plague.
While we may be entitled to be tried by a jury of our peers by law, in the spiritual court Jesus has made it clear that we are not to judge others. Yet judging seems second-nature and necessary to making good choices. So we compare people all the time against various standards. We make decisions with whom we will spend time, offer resources, including our respect, recommendations, affection and love. If people meet up to our expectations they are included in our life. We make judgments about others all the time, many of them split-second and unconscious. At other times we take agonizing moments, months or years to reach a decision to limit contact with someone who is dangerous or has been detrimental to those around us. Judging is clearly a complicated act.
Depending on the state of our heart and our relationship with God, how we judge can affect our ability to love and in the long run affects us more than the person judged. Taking a fair but critical judgment is hard enough, but who hasn’t been stung by an unkind judgment from another? This happens all the time. None of us has perfect vision into the souls of other human beings, or can see them through the eyes of God, our rightful judge. So when we judge, we do so on a human level that is prone to distortion and lacking full knowledge. Even if we to judge fairly accurately, we always must take into account the words of Paul: “Who are you to judge someone else's servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand. Romans 14:4”
It is the Lord’s will that we stand, and he will help us through the trials and opportunities of life. So when we feel the inclination to judge or pass judgment, we should pray instead. Pray for the individual to stand, as the Lord desires. Let our words always seeks to upbuild and not tear down. Let us leave the judging to God, who is just and merciful and will enable us all to stand. If we must make some decision, may we pray for the eyes of God, knowing we shall be judged as we are judged. So let love, compassion, mercy, righteousness, gentleness and caring insight be on the jury with us.