Human judgment is a funny thing. We do it by nature, and sometimes we’re right and sometimes we’re wrong.
Psalm 7:11 “God is a just judge.”
The Bible tells us that God is the One who can really look into a situation and see not only the reality, but heart of the matter.
I Samuel 16:7 “The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
I always took that Samuel passage to refer to physical appearance since that is the context. I’ve realized, however, that is just the beginning of the meaning. I think it applies broadly to our human perception about issues.
Since Jesus is our perfect example, I find it really telling that a key prophecy of the Messiah speaks about His ability to judge justly.
“The Passion of the Christ”
Isaiah 11:1-5 “A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. 2 The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him— the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of might, the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord— 3 and he will delight in the fear of the Lord. He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears; 4 but with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked. 5 Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist.”
Human judgment was part of Jesus’ earliest life in the womb. His earthly father, Joseph, needed a divine perspective about Mary. God’s judgment prevailed over Joseph’s in the situation. (Matthew 1:18-24).
In His ministry, Jesus was the subject of judgment by the religious leaders, who accused him of blasphemy (Matthew 9:3) and of being satanic (Matthew 12:22-29). People in his hometown judged him as being simply an insignificant carpenter’s son. (Matthew 13:54-58).
Along the way, Jesus encountered people who were also judged by those around them. When Jesus showed grace and even invited those with shortcomings or stigmas into his inner circle, many didn’t understand.
Matthew 9:9-13: “9 As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. ‘Follow me,’ he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him. 10 While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples. 11 When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, ‘Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?’ 12 On hearing this, Jesus said, ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 13 But go and learn what this means: I desire mercy, not sacrifice. [Hosea 6:6] For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.’”
When Jesus spoke with the Samaritan woman at the well, he broke cultural protocol (John 4:1-38). But I think Jesus didn’t just see the woman in front of Him, he saw someone who was thirsty for living water, and who would be an incredible champion for the Gospel. Jesus always seemed to see the main issue at hand, what people needed, who they really were, and who they could be.
Jesus explained that those who have sinned and repented or simply been seriously humbled have even greater ability to love and live for Him. Luke 7:44-47: “44 Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, ‘Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. 46 You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. 47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.’”
What are some things you judge? For some of us, our first inclination is to size things up in a worldly way. Discernment is good. Jesus says to “be wise as serpents, and harmless as doves” (Matthew 10:16). I think the key is to take our thoughts to the just Judge and ask Him to show us His views.
In Luke 18, Jesus tells a parable about an unjust judge. Immediately after it, he illustrates the heart we should have in order to begin to gain God’s perspective. Luke 18:9-14: “9 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: 10 ‘Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get. 13 But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, God, have mercy on me, a sinner. 14 I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.’”
Jesus knew people’s perceptions about themselves and others are subjective, dependent upon opinion, culture, and personal and religious attitudes. So, He did not put too much stake in their thoughts.
John 2:23-25: “23 Now while he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Festival, many people saw the signs he was performing and believed in his name. 24 But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all people. 25 He did not need any testimony about mankind, for he knew what was in each person.”
I am inspired to ask for God’s heart and perspective through His Word, wise counsel, and the Holy Spirit. And if you are on the receiving end of judgment, give your concerns to God. Ultimately, put your estimation in the hands of God as Jesus did.
Prayer: God, please cleanse me of any faulty human or religious judgments I carry. As the just Judge, please guide me in truth and wisdom and show me Your heart on matters, situations, and people. In Jesus’ name, amen.