Monday, 8 November 2021
Judgment vs Discernment: What's the Difference?
This past Shabbat we studied the two chapters, Romans 13 & 14. There are some difficult passages in those two chapters. One in particular caught my attention so that I want to write something about it today.
Romans 14:4a Who are you to judge another's servant?
This is not a "stand alone" verse. There are others that support this thought. Yeshua made a point of it in the sermon on the mount. Matthew 7:1 Stop judging, so that you may not be judged. But, in his explanation of it, Yeshua goes on to say, Matthew 7:5 Hypocrite, first take the beam out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye.
Notice that Yeshua didn't say, "Leave the spec in your brother's eye." He is saying, (paraphrasing here) "Fix yourself before you fix others." Too often people lose the good sense of a scripturally moral compass out of fear of being "judgmental." We can (and should) know right from wrong without falling into the trap of being quick to condemn the offender to hell.
My point is that we should be aware of the significant difference between judging and discerning. To appreciate the difference, we have to understand that there are aspects of judgment. There is judgment which is the trial (hearing of witnesses presenting evidence) and there is final judgment (when the gavel goes down and the verdict is passed).
What would be helpful is for these different parts or types of judgment to have different words for them instead of "judgment." Perhaps trial and condemnation for example. We should always be ready to help someone through a trial, but never should we declare condemnation over him/her. We should have discernment, but only God is the judge.
Ephesians 4:14-15 As a result, we are no longer to be like children, tossed around by the waves and blown all over by every wind of teaching, by the trickery of men with cunning in deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all ways into Messiah, who is the Head.
Anyone can speak the "truth," and and in doing so, wash away the guilty to hell through a flash flood of condemnation. It takes wisdom to speak the truth in love with words of encouragement and restoration that will lead to building up the faith of the offender to the strength of being a victorious overcomer in Messiah Yeshua.
The answer is found as we lift up Yeshua. The sinner asks, "Is something wrong with me?" That's the wrong question. The focus needs to be on Yeshua, not on "What's wrong with 'me?'" Yeshua has something better for each of us. Let's not deceive ourselves with the thought, "I'm just a sinner." God has made each of us a new creation.
1 Peter 2:9-10 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession, so that you may proclaim the praises of the One who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. Once you were "not a people," but now you are "God's people." You were shown "no mercy," but now you have been shown "mercy."
And finally, 2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if anyone is in Messiah, he is a new creation. The old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
Rabbi Michael Weiner,