How to Judge Rightly

The headlines are full of wars and reports of wars, of unrighteous acts by some people against other people, and of social institutions which are supposed to determine who is right and who is wrong being ignored or vilified or being ineffective to settle issues among people.

So, how does one determine right from wrong?  Some would say that "might is right", while others would follow some other guideline.  It is apparent that Hitler and Stalin and Pol Pot and many others who are now held as examples of blatant unrighteousness thought that they were right in doing what they did.

I believe that Jesus gave us a valid principle when it comes to making right judgments and living life according to those right decisions.  He said that no one can have the vision to make right judgments unless he or she first removes from one's own vision that which clouds one's vision.  He called these hindrances 'a mote (splinter)' or 'a log (beam)' (in the King James translation of the Christian Bible).  Here is the passage of the Bible which contains Jesus' instructions concerning righteous judgments:

Mat 7:1  Judge not, that you may not be judged.
Mat 7:2  For with whatever judgment you judge, you shall be judged; and with whatever measure you measure out, it shall be measured to you again.
Mat 7:3  And why do you look on the splinter that is in your brother's eye, but do not consider the beam that is in your own eye?
Mat 7:4  Or how will you say to your brother, Let me pull the splinter out of your eye; and, behold, a beam is in your own eye?
Mat 7:5  Hypocrite! First cast the beam out of your own eye, and then you shall see clearly to cast the splinter out of your brother's eye.

So, the most important beginning of the process of making right judgments is to make sure that one's own vision is clear and used to judge one's self first before turning one's vision on another.

And that begs the question, "How do I do that?"

I suggest that judging one's self rightly is impossible for anyone to do alone.  We all need a guiding light to show the way to discern truth from error, and rightness from wrongness. And we need to realize that there are issues of the mind, but these mind issues are often overridden by issues of the heart.  We need someone (or Someone) whose own vision is not clouded by selfishness and pride and lack of all the pertinent facts and who is free from all prejudices and external motives to help us judge ourselves rightly so that we can avoid judging other wrongly and instead judge ourselves and others rightly as needed.

I am eternally grateful to a young man whose name I forget, with whom I was acquainted in 1976 when my own issues of rightness and wrongness had come to the forefront of my life.  I was facing serious emotional and moral issues in my life and family, and found that I did not have the ability or desire to do what 'was right'.  I wanted to do what I wanted to do.  Period.  But I could not figure out how to get what I wanted to get, which was to be loved and to love rightly.

Then I occasioned to chat with my acquaintance, who was a Christian and a college student of business management.  I told him of the monumental issues I was facing, and he asked me, "If there was someone who cared for you like no one else cares for you, and was willing and able to help you to manage your life most successfully, would you allow that person to help you manage your life?"  I thought about this statement, and realized that I would be a fool to turn down such an offer.  I was wondering who my friend was referring to.  I could not think of anyone who fit that description.  I told my friend that realization, and he replied, "His name is Jesus."

I was shocked!  I had attended churches all of my life - both 'protestant' and Catholic, and had never heard of such a personal relationship with Jesus!  But I could tell from the smile on my friend's face that he had faced the same questions and challenges of life, and had found his answers from Jesus Christ.

So I spent about two week trying to figure out how to get the answers I needed from Jesus while still remaining in control of my life.  At the end of those two weeks I realized two things:  1) no one can exclusively manage their own life and also get someone (or Someone) else to help manage; and 2) Jesus could not do any worse that I was doing in managing my life! (grin - I laugh now, but was not laughing then!)

By that time my Christian management friend was unavailable, so I called on another Christian friend who had come into my life to tell me what to do next.

We met in the second floor lounge of the business building on the campus of Bowling Green State University, and I asked her what I needed to do next.  She said, "Get down on your knees because you are going to be talking to the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords."  I has the impression that this was the most monumental decision of my life.

So I got down on my knees and something monumental happened.  When my knees touched the carpet 26 years worth of tears were released from my heart!  I cried like a baby until I ran out of tears!  All the while my friend was praying things that I could not hear or understand because I was wailing so loudly.  But when I got up off of my knees I looked around and perceived that everything had changed.  I later realized that my perception that everything had changed was due to the fact that my heart had changed!

Perhaps a year later I read in the Bible about God's old and new arrangements with mankind in the prophet Jeremiah's book:

Jer 31:31-34  Behold, the days come, says Jehovah, that I will cut a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah,  not according to the covenant that I cut with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt [the Ten Commandments]; which covenant of Mine they broke, although I was a husband to them, says Jehovah; but this shall be the covenant that I will cut with the house of Israel: After those days, says Jehovah, I will put My Law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. And they shall no more teach each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, 'Know Jehovah'; for they shall all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says Jehovah. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sins no more.

I read that passage and realized that I had received a spiritual heart transplant that 15th day of May, 1976, in the Business Building lounge at BGSU!

That day began a process of receiving new sight, and gradual improvements in my spiritual sight as veils were removed from the eyes of my heart as Jesus revealed to me prejudices and mistaken understandings and attitudes which allowed me to see myself more truly, and to understand others more truly as a result.

Then He led me into the understanding that I could be crucified with Him and nevertheless live, as the Apostle Paul described it in his letter to the Galatians:

Gal 2:19  For through the Law I died to the law, that I might live to God.
Gal 2:20  I have been crucified with Christ, and I live; yet no longer I, but Christ lives in me. And that life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith toward the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself on my behalf.
Gal 2:21  I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness is through law, then Christ died without cause.

I have found that what Jesus required of His disciples - that they deny themselves daily, take up their cross and accompany Him - can be actually accomplished by claiming His sufferings on the cross, His death, burial and resurrection as our own suffering, death, burial and resurrection which sets a person free from the pride and prejudice, the selfishness and arrogance, which afflict mankind in various ways so that we can live a life of growing rightness with God and each other as we accept and heed His upward call to us to be reconciled with our heavenly Father, to know Him and to rule and reign with Him now and forever!

I believe that it is a great plan that God has for His creation, and I can testify from personal experience so far for 37 years that my life is being transformed for the better as I continue to decrease and Jesus continues to increase in my life and in the world around me.  I have a joy and peace that I never had before May 15, 1976, and am able to understand myself and others better than ever, and to see God's plans and purposes unfolding in the midst of the chaos and unrighteousness of society as we know it.