The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.
1 Samuel 16:7 emphasis mine
Growing up I heard this phrase many times…don’t judge a book by its’ cover. Another saying was if you can’t say something nice then say nothing at all.
Our worldview, according to the Scripture above, is very different from that of God’s. We know we are not suppose to judge others but we do it, even if our judgments are unspoken and merely a quick assessment in the mind…her skirt is too short…he has a lot of tattoos. While our silent thoughts don’t outwardly hurt the ones we’re judging, the very awareness of them, hopefully, does quicken our hearts as Christians to remember God “hears” every word, whether spoken or unspoken! Hopefully, with this reminder, we will ask Him to change our critical thinking to be more in line with His amazing grace and love for others.
Then, we have the times our thoughts do slip out into the open for others to hear. As a female comedian has said, Sometimes thoughts just slip out before God has had a chance to sanctify them! This statement makes us chuckle until we experience the wounding affect our words have on others or how someone else’s careless words affect us personally. It is especially true when the wounding comes from the very place that professes to be a resource for healing. In the world of medicine we refer to this kind of wounding as malpractice. When it comes from within the church, God calls it hypocritical! OUCH!!
According to the New Testament Scripture, Jesus never spoke words of condemnation toward the sinner. This doesn’t mean He excused the sin. On the contrary, His message was always to go and sin no more! BUT, to the professed teacher’s of God’s Law, whose words of judgment weighed down the soul, Jesus minced no words. “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.” (Matthew 23:27-28)
Whether within the actual walls of our church buildings or the walls of our own hearts, shouldn’t our words to those around us be edifying instead of condemning? Offer life instead of death? Build up rather than tear down? Focus more upon what Jesus has done for us rather than what sin has done against us?
Father, as one of Your children, I ask You to bring my actions and thoughts, both deliberate and spontaneous, to be more in line with those of Jesus. AMEN
To The One Who “did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” (John 3:17)