After enjoying Decisions, Decisions by Dave Swavely, unknown to me as an author and pastor until recently, I decided to follow up with his more popular piece, Who are You to Judge? The Dangers of Judging and Legalism.
The arguments of the book evolve, in one way or another, from Paul’s writing in 1 Corinthians 4, particularly verse 6 which reads, “I have applied all these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, brothers, that you may learn by us not to go beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up in favor of one against another.”
Here are some things that I highlighted:
- The sin of judging is negatively evaluating someone’s conduct or spiritual state on the basis of nonbiblical standards or suspected motives.
- Since you cannot know with certainty what is in your own heart, how could you possibly think that you can discern what is in the heart of another?!
- Everyone knows that murder, adultery, hate, lust, and other common sins are wrong, but few are aware that it is equally wrong to judge another Christians.
- Jesus Christ is the only One fully qualified to judge some things and the only One fully capable of judging some things.
- The Bible teaches that there are some things about others that we can and should judge, and that there are some other things that we cannot and should not judge.
- We should withhold judgments not only on that which is outside of Scripture, but also on that which is inide of man.
- We can and should judge what people say about their beliefs, whether it is consistent with the Bible or not. But we must be very careful not to ascribe bad motives to them.
- Cross-Examine Your Judgements:
- Is this opinion based firmly on Scripture, or on my ideas and preferences?
- Does the formation of this opinion include any judgments about the person’s thoughts of motives?
- Am I missing any facts that are necessary for an accurate evaluation?
- How would I want this person to think of me if the roles were reversed?
- How can I show the grace of the cross to this person?
- Legalism: creating moral standards beyond what the Scripture has revealed.
- The study of spiritual issues can actually produce bad results if it is divorced from the love for God and others.
- Knowing that God accepts us in Christ keeps us from fabricating human ways to earn acceptance with Him.
- When it comes to issues not directly addressed in the Scriptures, God will be looking primarily at the reasons and responses of the heart.
- In ourselves we are more sinful than we ever dare to admit, but in Christ we are more loved and accepted than we ever dare to hope.
The above excerpts are often paraphrased slightly for reasons of brevity. They are solely to capture your interest in order that you might lend yourself to purchase the book for your own reading.