The recent events in the USA and the widespread commentary about them remind me that in all sorts of matters God teaches us that the admonitions about judging with which we may be familiar have a very wide application indeed. I am going to suggest that as believers we should expect that the way we are commanded by the Lord to make judgments is very different from the ways it is widely done, including in particular the ways of that gob-box the television and indeed media of all sorts. Using the “teeth in a horse’s mouth” story I outlined several weeks ago, it is clearly inadequate to assert with absolute confidence that the number of teeth in a horse’s mouth is forty because so-and-so said so and it is widely believed. On the other hand, it would be wrong to assert that any such story is absolutely wrong. (For instance, it is found on inspection that many male horses, though not all, do have forty teeth.)
Biblical text-quotes on judging include: Matthew 7:1-2 "Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.”
We become like the servant who was forgiven a great debt yet failed to extend the same mercy to a lesser debtor (Matthew 18:21-35)
We have a responsibility to distinguish good from evil and light from darkness (Isaiah 5:20)
We should first check our own motives and our hearts for any unrecognised planks (Jeremiah 17:9), but we cannot merely say that we should not judge and therefore cannot call anything wrong.
Jesus told His followers, "Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment" (John 7:24)
First Corinthians 2:14-16 says, "The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual person judges all things."
It is with such considerations somewhat in mind that I have tried to construct the new website and its contents. I hope you will find it not only interesting and engaging, but also useful in “judging with right judgment” about a variety of things. For we are called to obedience, but not in general to a blind or uninformed obedience. (Jesus calls us, He says, not merely to be His servants, but to be His friends, and to an obedience to God that “knows the mind” of the Father.) The website is perpetually a “work in progress”, and I am always open to your suggestions about what it might contain in the days and weeks ahead. Don’t hesitate to give me your thoughts.
The Collect for the Second Sunday after Epiphany runs as follows:
ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who dost govern all things in heaven and earth: Mercifully hear the supplications of thy people, and grant us thy peace all the days of our life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
We are reminded that in spite of the current manifest upsets in the world, in our western Christian-based civilisation, its governments, legislatures and courts, and in the United States currently as these words are formed, there is an overarching government of “all things in heaven and earth” that is in place, powerful, real, merciful, and responsive to our “supplications”. We know that the possibility of a good relationship exists between these spiritual and natural structures of government and pray that such a possibility may even at last be realised, even with the manifest distancing that has been engineered. And so we remain in supplication to our heavenly Father for the only hope of a lasting peace in this world that was intended by God to be in its creation, a world that will be in a day to come, His holy Temple.
For directions about the services on Sunday the 17th Jan, please see the website www.truthwithlanguage.com.
May the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit guide our thoughts, prayers and judgments!