‘I am the law… … prepare to be judged’ (Judge Joseph Dredd – Judge Dredd 1995 – https://www.quotes.net/movies/judge_dredd_6061 – accessed 03/05/19)
On television today, you can choose to watch programmes where people make a spectacle about virtually any part of their life, no matter how private or intimate. Jerry Springer and Jeremy Kyle have been allowing members of the public to humiliate themselves and their former friends for years.
Judge Judy has been on television for over 13 years, whilst Judge Rinder has been around and televised since 2014. People seem enthralled by other people’s problems, and how they deal with them.
Back in 1977, Judge Dredd first hit the comic shelves, in a comic called 2000 AD. The population of the time (around 2099) lived in a dystopian future in a place called Mega-City One, and he and his fellow judges had tough jobs, and they were ‘police, jury and executioner all in one. They were the Judges’ (Narrator – Judge Dredd 1995), although the death sentence was not widely used unless capital offences had occurred (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judge_Dredd – accessed 03/05/19).
In today’s society, with many people actively engaging in people watching, it is very easy to judge people without knowing anything about them. We judge people on what we see on their social media profiles, we judge them on random statements that we hear them say, we even judge them on their fashion if we do not like what they are wearing.
Why have we become such judgemental people?
‘Do not judge’ (Matthew 7:1 NIV – emphasis mine).
So why do we, what right do we have to do it?
Even if we do not share the judgement with others, we still do it, but why do we do it?
‘For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged’ (Matthew 7:2 NIV – emphasis mine).
We are far from perfect, and it is presumed, that we do not want to be judged harshly when our time on earth ends, yet we find it very difficult at times to stop from judging others, but yet again;
‘with the measure you use, it will be measured to you’ (Matthew 7:2 NIV).
This is not a new problem. Thousands of years ago, the Israelite nation was not doing what it should. They had turned from God and his laws as given through Moses (Exodus 20:1-17). Joshua, Moses’ aide had risen to the occasion, to become the leader of the nation, and they still grumbled and disobeyed God (Joshua 7:1). Joshua finally died aged one-hundred and ten years old, and was buried, (Judges 2:6) and when his generation all died out, the Israelite nation again turned from God, and;
‘served Baal and the Ashtoreths’ (Judges 2:13 NIV).
So we are no different from the old Israelite nation. They did not worship God and do as they should have, and we do not do as Jesus taught us.
When writing to the Roman Christians, Paul reminded them;
‘Who are you to pass judgement… … Why do you pass judgement on your brother (or sister)’ (Romans 14:4 & 10 ESV – emphasis mine).
It is not our job to judge, God will ultimately judge us, and Jesus will stand with us, but we need to have a heart that is in tune with God, and the only way to have that is to live by the words inspired by God, written in the greatest teaching manual available today, the Bible.
We are not qualified to pass judgement on others. When Jesus comes again, things that are now hidden will be brought into the light, and our true hearts revealed (1 Corinthians 4:5 ESV).
Ultimately, some people will always judge us, but Jesus also reminded us;
‘Forgive and you will be forgiven’ (Luke 6:37 NIV).
‘There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy’ (James 4:12 ESV).
So we have to choose how we want to live. Do we want to live selfish lives where we pass moral and ethical judgements upon people that we hardly know, basing these entirely on what we see and hear, or do we want to live as Jesus taught us that we should, lights to an otherwise dark world?
Be the tip of a spear light, taking the light of the gospel into an otherwise dark world. Take the light of Jesus to people who without you, may never hear the life saving story of love and grace as embodied in Jesus;
‘Therefore let us stop passing judgement on one another’ (Romans 14:13 NIV).
‘I am the light of the world’ (John 8:12 NIV).
As Jesus was and is for all who turn to him, so let us be for others; not judging, critical or re-proving, but full of love, patience, kindness and graciousness, as God is to all of us who have turned to him, and accepted him as Lord.
I’m saying yes to You
And no to my desires
I’ll leave myself behind
And follow You
I’ll walk the narrow road
’cause it leads me to You
I’ll fall but grace
Will pick me up again
I’ve counted up the cost
Oh I’ve counted up the cost
Yes I’ve counted up the cost
And You are worth it
I do not need safety
As much as I need You
But Lord You’re beautiful
I’ll chase You through the pain
I’ll carry my cross
’cause real love
Is not afraid to bleed
Take my all
Take my everything
I’ve counted up the cost
And You’re worth everything
The Cost (Homemade Worship by Handmade People #3)
Father we thank you for loving us no matter what we have done, and continue to do. Fill our hearts with your love so that there is no space left with which we can think about what other people do. Fill us with love and grace from you which we can the spill out to the people around us, and mhel make us more like your dear Son.