The Finger Pointing Precaution

Years ago I experienced the stark reality that when I find myself pointing a finger of judgment at someone I need to beware that three fingers are pointing back at me. It forever etched in my memory a foundational precaution in forming opinions and judgments about others.

As a new believer in my mid-twenties I was working in an office environment where one of my fellow employees was a very sharp dresser. He was the cool dude of the office, knew it, and projected an air of superiority. Over the course of time his arrogance began to grate on me. One morning as I passed by his desk where he was standing, I noticed to my delight that he had missed a belt loop. Those were the days of the wide belt and tucked shirt, so it was an error glaringly visible to all. As I was inwardly gloating over his unwitting faux pas, the Holy Spirit pushed the pause button on my little celebration and interjected this thought – “Why don’t you check your own belt loop.” ….. At that, I quickly felt around my waist and to my chagrin I discovered I had missed a belt loop too! Need I say more? God certainly is not without a sense of humor when gently correcting us and teaching us life lessons.

It was a lesson that has stuck with me to this day. More often than I would like to acknowledge, when I am in the process of judging another, I hear the Holy Spirit cautioning me “Check your own belt loop.” In other words, check your own heart and behavior before you’re so quick to judge.

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Before you jump to conclusions…

Jesus knew that perception is not always reality. Appearances and our perceptions can often deceive us. However, rendering a “right” and accurate judgment of a given situation is not always easy. It requires spiritual discipline, careful investigation and a healthy dependence upon the Holy Spirit, who is the Spirit of Truth, sent to lead us into all truth. (John 16:13) This is especially applicable when it comes to dealing with reports of questionable behavior in others.

I don’t know about you, but frequently I hear things that people have said or done that stir a righteous indignation within me. It is not just limited to people I know personally. A case in point is the news story of the high profile hit and run that is presently providing fodder for heated expressions of public opinion in the media. At such times, we would all do well to be reminded of the judging precaution Jesus gave us. “Do not judge by appearances.”

What does He mean by that? How do we judge with right judgment? The best way to understand that is to look at how He Himself judges. And what better place to look than in the first books of the Old Testament where we see Him in action and giving instruction in rendering right judgment. Here then are three judging precautions that can save all of us from jumping to conclusions.

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