Mike Ruffin

Mike Ruffin is a former county manager, including in Cabarrus County, and a minister.

“Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one’s praise will come from God.” (1 Corinthians 4:5)

Joel Hemphill, a great southern gospel songwriter, wrote a hit song in the 1970′s entitled “He’s Still Working On Me.” The first verse goes like this:

“There really ought to be a sign upon my heart, ‘Don’t Judge Me Yet There’s An Unfinished Part’. But I’ll be perfect just according to his plan, Fashioned by the Master’s loving hand.”

Christians are often some of the worst at judging the lives of others. Isn’t it ironic! While we have been commissioned by Christ to proclaim the gospel, we often turn unbelievers away from Jesus by how we outwardly judge others who fail to measure up to our worldly standard. In other words, we push others away from Christ instead of allowing them to see the Christian qualities in us that have brought such joy and peace to our lives.

Indeed, there are many unbelievers who, after looking at how judgmental we can be, say to themselves: “If that’s Christianity, then I don’t want any part of it.” Sadly, they may only see a brief portion of our lives, but may be lost for all of eternity.

God is going to hold us accountable for the quality of witness we allow our lives to show. I’m afraid that when we get to heaven, we are going to have a lot of explaining to do. Oh sure, if we are saved, our sins are thrown in the sea of forgetfulness. But the Bible also promises that we are going to stand before God and have a little talk about the good and bad in our lives. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.” (2 Corinthians 5:10)

Jesus tells us in Matthew 7 that that we should not judge – period! “For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with measure you use, it will be measured you.” (Matthew7:2)

In fact, some of the strongest warnings Christ gave in his three-year ministry concerned judgment. He thought it was a most ridiculous worldly quality. That’s why he used a peculiar analogy to make His point. “Why do you look at a speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” (Matthew 7:3)

What Jesus is telling us about being judgmental is that we can’t look discriminately at others unless we look at them through our own mistakes, our own failures, and our own sins. And if we apply that standard, then we will show those Christ-like qualities that will emphasize forgiveness and not judgment.

Isn’t it great that God does not judge us the same way that we judge others? That’s right! When God looks at our lives, he looks first at our hearts. Galatians 2:6 says “God does not judge by external appearance”.

Oh, by the way, Joel Hemphill wrote another great verse in that song I mentioned:

“In the mirror of his word, reflections that I see, Make me wonder why he never gave up on me. But he loves me as I am and helps me when I pray. Remember, He’s the potter, I’m the clay.”

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