When we moved to Tennessee, we had to start all over. We made new friends, went to a new church, started new jobs, and in this process we had to start presenting ourselves to people. When making new friends, people start to get to know you from how you act, what you say, and the stories you choose to tell.
I remember in one instance, I was with a new group of friends and someone made an assumption.
In a situation like this, someone assumes they know something; maybe they think they know what you're thinking, what you believe, what your past was like, or what you hope for the future.
In any case, it gets super awkward when you essentially have to say, you judged me wrong.
The Good Judge
When I think about a trial in court, I think it would be super important who the judge was. You want the judge to be on your side. God is the good and perfect judge, who passed on judgement to Jesus who has made our salvation secure.
With other people, we are often not judged rightly. Maybe it's a harmless judgement like a new friend assuming something about you that isn't true. Or maybe it's a more hurtful judgement like assuming you did something wrong or hurtful to someone else brought on by a miscommunication.
With God, we know His judgement is always right and true. He will judge us fairly, He will judge the people around us fairly, and He will judge our situations fairly.
David prays for God to "Let Your eyes look on the things that are upright" (Psalm 17:2) because David knows God will judge rightly as long as He looks his way. We can echo this prayer for God to simply look at us, look at our spirits and situations and trust God to judge rightly.
Desire God's Judgement
"Judgement" isn't a super fun word. Maybe you even approached this post with hesitation because of it. Desiring judgement seems like an odd, counter-culture thing. Why would we desire to be judged?
We know that God is a good judge, and because He judges rightly we should pray as David did and long for God's judgement.
Charles Spurgeon wrote, "Believers do not desire any judge other than God, to be excused from judgement, or even to be judged on principles of partiality...The Lord will weigh us in the scales of justice fairly and justly."
Like David's plea for judgement through God looking at his situation, we should long for God to judge us. We are secure in our identity in Christ and God will continue to judge us and those around us rightly.
This isn't limited to salvation; God continues to act as the good judge in our day to day circumstances. He sees every attitude of every heart in every moment. This shouldn't scare us, but it should comfort us. We can trust the One who is the all-knowing judge.
Judge with Righteousness
Judgement, for us, is a lot like discernment. In John 7 there was a lot of division over who Jesus was. At this point, He had started doing some crazy things like healing people on the sabbath. The healing part wasn't even that wild, it was just that Jesus wasn't following the religious rules at the time and that made people question Him.
Jesus corrects them for questioning Him and basically says, I healed someone and you didn't like when I did it, then He says, "Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly" (John 7:24).
Jesus was being judged, and judged wrongly. The appearance of this miracle wasn't a good look; it broke rules. But the heart behind it was pure (it was the Son of God's heart after all...) and Jesus often healed because He was moved by compassion.
God is the only true judge. We're often put in situations where we attempt to discern the heart behind what people in our lives are doing.
The only way to do this is to consult the righteous judge, and invite His Spirit into our discernment process. Maybe we are making a new friend, going on a first date, or visiting a new church.
When we make a judgement, it should be a judgement rooted in righteousness, surrendered to God's judgement above our own. Judging with righteousness requires judging with spiritual eyes. "The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart ” (1 Samuel 16:7).
Before writing off a church because the music makes you uncomfortable, assuming a friend's text was written with a rude attitude, or thinking a hopeless situation will never work out–take another look and invite God's righteous judgement into the situation, discerning spiritual eyes, and in any case, trust that the good Judge will never get it wrong.