‘Stop judging by mere appearances, and make a right judgment.” John 7:24 (NIV)
Jesus tries to show those who are confronting Him not to look as the world looks. He is trying to show them by examples that they get all worked up over following their accepted practices. They have rules and think everyone should follow them. That they get their rules from the Bible does not lessen the fact that they are looking in the wrong direction. Is this one area where we all might easily go wrong too? Could it happen all the time?
There are so many things that we know are right and up building. Those who care enough to make an effort to be the kind of people we know we should be, tend to embrace the thought of carrying those things out. This is good. This is healthy. God wants us to try. He asks us to be like Him. He asks us to be righteous. So we throw ourselves into the effort. But where we go wrong is when we forget God. He is the whole purpose we are even trying, right? He is the One we are trying to impress, isn´t He? Or do we get so caught up in our good intentions that we lose sight of Him? Without trying, do we slip God off the seat of honor in what we are doing and we replace His throne there with our own agenda? There is a subtle but significant shift from Who we should do it for, to doing it for some hidden personal satisfaction. We feel better knowing we are doing the right thing. We receive the honor, not God.
Jesus points out to the Jews that confront Him how they prefer to honor their custom before thinking of God. They would rather look holy than care about others. They miss the fact that God is Love. It is far more important to think of the needs of God´s children before we ever consider being correct in any true sense of the word. Is it obvious? Should we all see it? Does God always call for caring individuals? Does He always want to see us loving as He loves us? How in the world can we still backslide and keep turning things around? How come we forget to be kind and still think we are pleasing God? Or is it even God that we are trying to impress?
Two great themes stand out in the teachings of Jesus and the entire Bible. God is real and God is Love! God is here and His love is for us His children. If we would have anything at all to do with Him, should we also strive to have His love flowing through us and out to those around us? Should we also keep ever present in our thoughts and actions these great qualities of our Lord? Should we make every effort to have Him and His love marking our lives? Should we pray that He helps us always make a right judgment in seeking to have His love in us?
Dear Jesus, we know that too many times we forget to be charitable to others. We work so hard to please the Lord. Help us to overcome our tendencies. Help us to always seek You and Your love! Let Your love flow through us and reach out to absolutely everyone we come in contact with! Give us discernment to make the right judgment. Let us choose to be like God even before we ever consider ourselves! Thank You for setting the perfect example for us! Help us now!