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.