Watching nature never ceases to bore me. There is always something fresh to observe even if it’s the same location. That’s how incredible our Master Creator’s handiwork is! From the first floor balcony, I was allowing my senses to feast in all that the ocean view had to offer – the salty drops of water ushered in by the forceful yet fresh wind with the waves ensuring that they were not only seen but heard too…. What an array of delights! I was mesmerised by the breathtaking view. Suddenly something that seemed out of place caught my eye.
My heart protested at the sight of this object – it seemed as if though a large board, pure white in colour was drifting along from a distance. I rubbed my eyes and looked again – as it simply didn’t make sense. Within seconds, I realised it wasn’t what it seemed to be after all. My instincts were right. The foamy tips of the waves had been wide spread giving the impression of a white board since I was looking at it from above as opposed to the usual ‘face on’.
Very often we jump to conclusions based on what we see, based on appearances. “Someone sitting under the coconut palm with a glass of milk would be perceived as drinking toddy”! I know I’m guilty of jumping to conclusions more often than not. How about you?
I find it to be a fine line between the gift of discernment and assuming. On the one hand we read Scriptures such as, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged” (Matthew 7:1). On the other hand we read verses such as, “What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside?” (1 Corinthians 5:12) and “Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases?” (1 Corinthians 6:2). Paul writes to ‘sensible’ people, “Judge for yourselves what I say” (1 Corinthians 10:15).
It may seem contradictory, but the Word of God will never be so! The fact of the matter is we can’t blindly do anything we please… We need to be “as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves” as we are “like sheep among wolves” (Matthew 10:16).
There are situations we need to judge – everything we hear should be tested against Scripture (in context of the entire Bible); we need to discern what is of God and what is of the evil one, we should evaluate behaviours against the truth when it comes to believers etc. However we also need to analyse situations by hearing out all parties concerned, as opposed to merely assuming – the latter is judging. Having said that we need to also be aware the it is only God that sees EVERYthing.
Quadrant 1 of “The Johari window” is the open area, our behaviours that are known to both self and others. The second quadrant is the blind area, behaviour known to others but not to self (our blind spots). However there is a part of us (the 3rd quadrant) that we can see but others can’t see (secret area). The fourth quadrant is the unconscious area – the behaviour not known to self or others (other than God of course!). These areas give us insight into the fine line between assuming and judging. (The image inserted here is one version of the window I found on the internet.)
An interesting fact is put forth by the writer of Galatians 2:6, “As for those who seemed to be important – whatever they were makes no difference to me; God does not judge by external appearance”.
God sees the heart – He sees what we see and He also sees what we don’t see.
He sees the facade, He sees the arena, He sees the unknown and He sees the blind spots! We don’t…
However we should be wary of ‘facades’. Jesus never hesitated to rebuke hypocrisy. He wants us to walk in the light and be light to the world!
Under the cover of “truth”, we often judge from the outside leaving grace out, whereas God sees a different picture altogether. King David was anointed long before he became king. However after he did become king, he didn’t go to war when he should have. One wrong decision led to so many more wrong decisions resulting in much sin. God sees our blind spots and sends a prophet Nathan to convict. Finally David repented truthfully and God called him a man after His own heart!! This is a good example as to how often we ‘judge’ people when God has looked at it in a totally different light.
God sees the cries of the heart, the desire to make a U-turn and the steps as little as they may be. even if they falter! This is what He is pleased with. A heart that accepts failures and faults, a heart that cries out in repentance and a heart that yearns to get back on track. Habits take a while to break and God understands that. We need to be careful that we don’t judge those who are in this category!