Download a PDF of the study guide HERE

What are we to do about our internal deliberation regarding the faults of those around us? Our inner jury needs a rest. Jesus asks us to dismiss the jury, adopt a better standard, and encourage others toward God, their Father.

Our Inner Jury. No one likes to be judged, and we certainly don’t like to think that we are judgmental.  But, we make judgments all the time and we make them for good reasons. Are you dangerous? Should I fear you? Are you like me? There is an inner jury in session every waking moment. So the issue isn’t, “Am I judgmental?” The question is why and what can be done about it?

Luke 6:37-38 (NLT) Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full

Judgment Is Based Upon A Standard

We Have Plenty of Work to do. According to Jesus, we have some logs to deal with. Isn’t it strange that we can plainly see the faults of others but are blind to our own failings?  We have blind spots. We have blind spots that we do not care to see. 

The Standards of The Kingdom. Jesus’ sermon on the mount, parables, and examples are Kingdom examples. So many wish to make Jesus a conservative or a liberal. He was neither. He was, is, and forever shall be King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He did not come to establish peace, he came to take over. His kingdom is overcoming the world, regardless of what the news reports.

His kingdom is our inheritance and citizenship. We are here to live by its laws, customs, and power. The Kingdom is the standard and by that standard, we all struggle.

  • What are some ways that we judge others? Why do you think we make so many evaluations of others?
  • We know we do not measure up to the standards that Jesus represented. What do you think about that? How do we reconcile that in our thinking?

2 Corinthians 10:12 (NLT) Oh, don’t worry; we wouldn’t dare say that we are as wonderful as these other men who tell you how important they are! But they are only comparing themselves with each other, using themselves as the standard of measurement. How ignorant!

Judgment Is Best When Applied To Me

The Standard of Me. I am not the standard. Being like me is not required for anything, really. What I would wear, say, or do is not a standard of anything.

What Do You Give? Notice how Jesus combines judgment, condemnation, and forgiveness with giving. He is basically asking the question, “What do you give?”

Have you ever needed a gift for something? What if we began our day, week, or even our Sunday with a search for a gift? A gift that expected nothing in return. We have our opinions and so many judgments, but what if we gave something else?

Instead of evaluation, how about a blessing or gratitude instead?  We could give affirmation and appreciation. How would your day change if it began with the prayer, “Father, what would you like me to give today?” 

1 Peter 2:11 (NLT) Dear friends, I warn you as “temporary residents and foreigners” to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against your very souls.

Those sins and desires are destroying our person. Even if, especially if, it doesn’t feel as though there is any harm. The loss of sensitivity is often the sign of a deep infection. If it is your soul that is infected, what will you do?

James 1:25 (NLT) But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.

The Word and the Spirit. What are we to do? We are to examine the scriptures. We must listen and we must make new choices based on better information. When you listen to, read the bible, or hear messages and testimonies – respond. Don’t just look away. Don’t ignore them. Heed them and make new choices.

2 Corinthians 7:10 (NLT) For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death.

Confession, Repentance, and Freedom! There is NO ROOM for guilt and shame. There is only time for confession, repentance, and freedom. Confession is agreeing with God. Repentance is to change your mind about it. A change of mind leads to a change in behavior and practice. Repentance is about learning a new way to live. A better way.

  • We may mess up plenty. How do we get rid of those mistakes and misbehaviors?
  • Do we ever feel like we SHOULD feel bad for a while before we are forgiven? Why do we think like that?

Hebrews 10:24 (NLT) Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. 

Judgment Is Beneficial When It Gives Courage

How Can We Help Each Other Be Better? We know we have blind spots. We are often overwhelmed. What can we do? Sometimes it is easier to fight for a friend than it is for yourself. I could go to war for YOU in prayer. You likely have no idea how often this makes an unbelievable difference. I could pray for you. I can also pray with you. 

How Do We Change Concerns into Encouragement? We are not supposed to be walking away from each other saying, “Not my problem, I don’t want to judge.” That is avoidance, that is not what Jesus taught. Remember what he said to Peter and the others. “Satan wants to sift you guys, but I’ve prayed for you. Peter, you will fail, but I will restore you.”

We can turn our concern to courage. We can fight for each other. We can SEE each other. We can notice. We can bless, thank and help. If I see a problem with someone, maybe it is not up to mee to fix or correct them. (Although it may be).  It is always time to give them courage. 

Change Your Standard And Dismiss The Jury

You have enough problems. Policing others really isn’t in your job description. Policing yourself and keeping your own heart clean and tender toward God is a full-time job.

We all need grace and courage. We can always give courage. 

  • What are some ways we could encourage each other to be better rather than cause each other to feel bad?
  • Consider praying together as a group. Ask God for the name of someone that you could give courage or blessing and how might you do it.