Put Down The Gavel // Devotional

Put Down The Gavel

Face to Face, Part 7
Author: Andrew Archer, Student Ministry Director
Growing up, my family was middle class. We certainly had all of our needs met, but we lived a life that was far from extravagant. That included the way in which we dressed. While I did have the privilege of going clothes shopping at the start of each school year, my parents certainly prized value over style. So, while my friends came to school with the newest Jordans each year, I did not.

My hope for finally having “cool shoes” was restored in 2006, when Stephon Marbury, a point guard for the New York Knicks, came out with the “Starbury.” At a price point of $14.98, it was the cheapest shoe of any pro basketball player. I knew I could convince my parents to buy me a pair so that I would finally fit in!

As I walked into school that day wearing my new shoes, I wasn’t met with the excitement from my peers that I had anticipated…instead, I faced indictment. Those classmates weren’t just making a judgment about my shoes — they were pronouncing a judgment over me. Not only were my shoes not good enough — but neither was I.

With an experience like that, you would think I would be slow to judge others, that I wouldn’t make indictments about who others are or sentence them as if I were their judge. Yet I find myself still struggling with this.

As Christians, ones who follow the way of Jesus, it can be easy to feel like it’s our place to pronounce judgment over others. But we must remember what Jesus shares in Matthew 7:1-5:
“Do not judge, so that you won’t be judged. For you will be judged by the same standard with which you judge others, and you will be measured by the same measure you use. Why do you look at the splinter in your brother’s eye but don’t notice the beam of wood in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the splinter out of your eye,’ and look, there’s a beam of wood in your own eye?  Hypocrite! First take the beam of wood out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to take the splinter out of your brother’s eye.”

As Christians, it can be easy to feel like it’s our place to pronounce judgment over others.

Scripture doesn’t say that we should not be discerning or exercise judgment at all; however, we are not to sit in a place of judgment over others. Doing so makes us liable to God’s judgment, as we are taking His rightful place as judge. Those classmates of mine 16 years ago took on God’s place as judge in my life by declaring that I wasn’t good enough because of the shoes I wore (or, to put it more accurately, the shoes I couldn't afford to wear). That was not their place then, and it is not mine or yours today.

The role of judgment is to help one another see the places we may be misguided in our walk with the Lord. We must do so from a place of love, with the hope of restoration for the person we are "judging." We should prayerfully point them to the better way, following Jesus' example from the story of the woman caught in adultery (John 8:1-11).

This week, take some time to reflect on how you may be judging others in a way that isn’t consistent with the way of Jesus… A way full of grace and truth. A way that is slow. A way that is genuine.

Put down the gavel, step away from the bench, and walk alongside others with grace and truth.
Author: Andrew Archer, Student Ministry Director