John 5:30 “My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.”

     Jesus has been given authority to judge by God Himself; “For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself, and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man.” (John 5:26,27)  He doesn’t misuse this authority because He follows His Father’s will not His own.  This is the defining characteristic of ‘righteous’ judging.

     Barnes’ Notes tells us that Jesus didn’t have any other agenda but His Father’s; “he had no “private” ends, no selfish views, no improper bias. He came not to aggrandize himself, or to promote his own views, but he came to do the will of God. Of course his decision would be impartial and unbiased, and there is every security that it will be according to truth.”

     When religious leaders serve their own will instead of God’s they engage in abusive spiritual manipulation; “Another form of spiritual manipulation occurs when abusive churches and cults twist Scripture to give more authority to the leadership and keep the members under their control. . . . . Some religious groups view questioning the leaders as tantamount to questioning God. Some leaders claim to have divine authority and approval; thus, to disobey them is to disobey God. This is perhaps the most pernicious form of spiritual manipulation, and it has no place in a true church.” (Michael Houdmann –  The toxic stew of an abusive organization is full of self-serving judgment dooming people who go against their leader to failure and destruction.

     We are told by Jesus not to judge those around us by our own flawed ideas and motivations; “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?” (Matthew 7:1-3)  This is often misquoted by those who would reserve the right to judge for themselves only and escape legitimate accountability.  A thorough reading of the scripture tells us that we are to examine ourselves for any hypocrisy or self-serving agendas before we make any judgements on the behaviour of others.  Jesus tells us to look deep into ourselves and the situation; “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.” (John 7:24)

     Jesus in responding to the Pharisee’s rebuke of  healing a man on the Sabbath tells them; “. . . are you angry with Me because I made a man completely well on the Sabbath? Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.” (John 7:23,24)  We must look beyond the letter of the law given by Moses as well as our own codes of behaviour and give precedence to God’s mercy which was laid down at the foundation of creation; “Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.” (John 1:7)

     If we must judge, we must not judge to serve ourselves but to serve God’s will.  And what is God’s will?  Scripture tells us plainly; “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.” (John 6:29)  God even said so directly; “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!” (Matthew 17:5)  Our judgements must conform to the Gospel and reflect the character of Jesus which is mercy and love.  Mercy and love in their purest form are not in any way accommodating to sin. (John 5:14, 8:11)

     That kind of judging is required of us. Indeed we are called to it; “If you had known what these words mean, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the innocent.”  (Matthew 12:7)  The law without Jesus is all about condemnation.  We are called to His Gospel and to exercise mercy and compassion which is His judgment.  Without Jesus the innocent are condemned.  Without Jesus all stand condemned!

    Praise the Lord!