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Opinions and Judgments

May 5th, 2014

“In the same way that you judge others, you will be judged. Matthew 7:2 NIV.

 Be charitable in your opinions and careful in your judgments.

My thoughts and comments today are about “opinions and judgments.”

It is easy to misjudge. You can certainly misunderstand what another person has said or is reported to have said, or misinterpret what a person has done or been accused of doing, or mistake someone’s motive – wrongly presuming that you know what another was thinking or intending. Doing so leads to misjudgments.

Harm comes from misjudgments. You cannot be sure of your own motivations. How could you possibly be certain of someone else’s? Read Jeremiah 17:9-10. The Bible cautions, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way that you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Matthew 7:1-2 NIV. That should give anyone cause for caution.

A friend taught me a practical way to differentiate between having an opinion and making a judgment. Those may seem similar, but they are worlds apart. Opinions are plenteous, even unavoidable. Everybody has them; some people have too many of them for anyone’s good – and too many of the ones they have are frequently incorrect. People have opinions about matters that are their business and some that are not. The danger comes from holding strong opinions that are often nothing more than an individual’s likes or dislikes, preferences or prejudices, as much unexplainable whim as any firm reason. Don’t confuse your subjective opinion with an accurate, objective judgment.

The matter of judgments is more serious. There are judgments that should be made, and must be made, but those should be left to those who have been given the authority and responsibility to make them. When tempted to pass judgment on someone or something, first ask yourself, “Is this my God-given responsibility and authority?”

The Godly principle is simple and practical; if you don’t have the proper responsibility, be assured you have not been given rightful authority. God does not permit you to judge where He does not authorize you to rule. “Each of us will give an account of himself to God. Therefore, let us stop passing judgment on one another . . God alone, who made the Law, can rightly judge among us.” Romans 14:10-13 NIV/James 4:11-12 NLT. Ultimately, God’s opinion is the only one that matters eternally. “He will judge the world with justice and rule the nations with fairness.” See Psalm 9:7-8 NLT.

You will be happier and enjoy better relationships if you recognize what is best left to others, and take better care of responsibilities that are yours. Be charitable in your opinions and careful in your judgments. You don’t know all there is to know; don’t be so sure of what you do. I wish I could say that I have learned the principle well and practice it better, but I still live in what my friend, Campbell, described as, “The biggest room in the world – the room for improvement.”

My prayer for you today is that you do not confuse your opinions with God’s judgments.

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