You Better SELAH Before You Judge Me!

(Today’s post by Marc Cannon)

Psalms 75-76

Dont-JudgeRarely a day goes by when I don’t hear someone complain about being judged. It’s probably true for you as well. I can always count on seeing a rant or two on Facebook or Twitter about it; whether it be for their looks, the color of their skin, the clothes they wear, how many tattoos they have, age, accent, if they wear glasses, weight, hair or lack thereof, political affiliation and especially for their spiritual beliefs. All of these things are something most of us have drawn judgment for and most likely have looked at others and drawn a personal conclusion about them. It could be a group of people or just one.

In these two books of Psalms judgment and reckoning is the prominent theme. The psalmist is praising the Lord for victory in battle and the Lord tells the Land of Judah that HE will judge and will do so in His own time. He also tells us that His wrath will be seen and that those who are Godless will be judged and condemned, that’s an interesting word, condemned (we’ll get back to that). Several times in this passage the Lord stops and says, “SELAH”. From my research there really is no true translated definition and the best that I could come up with is to “Pause and think”…Meditate. One commentary I read even said to, “Pause and Pray”. The Lord is giving us His thoughts here…He speaks them and tells us to “Stop! Listen to what I’m saying. This is who I am and what I am going to do…Prepare yourselves. Think about it! Those who love me will live, those who don’t will surely die…Judgment is mine”.

I read this passage and judgment came to mind and the context most people use it in today. People are certainly afraid to be called different or to be told what they’re doing is wrong. No one likes it…So much so that our society has become a bruised slug with no backbone. We all make judgments from the time we wake up in the morning to the time we go to bed. That is human nature. You cannot live without judgment. We judge what’s right, wrong and moral. Instead of honest judgment we (all of humanity but especially believers) mix condemnation in the cocktail – HEAVY on the condemnation. Of course the world looks at things a little differently than believers do, but God does give us a moral compass and a Word that teaches us right from wrong with the ability to judge that. It’s what holds people accountable. But nowhere in the word does He give us reign to condemn. That, in the end, is His job.

First, I want to encourage you to seek out what the Bible says about judgment. It seems to have become taboo to even talk about judgment for fear of offending someone. So, what does Jesus say about it in Matthew?

Secondly, when you feel the urge to condemn someone for their differences, wrongs, lifestyles…SELAH! Pause, think about it, and pray. Jesus wasn’t sent here to condemn but to save. If Jesus wasn’t sent here to condemn, we most certainly aren’t given that authority.

John 3:17 “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him.”

Lastly, if you ever face condemnation, and most of us certainly will at some point in the future, and it may even be tomorrow…SELAH! Pause, think about it, and pray.

 

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  • Austin Brook Luckett

    I like Emerson’s analysis of the subject, myself: We are all discerners of spirits. That diagnosis lies aloft in our life or unconscious power. The intercourse of society, — its trade, its religion, its friendships, its quarrels,— is one wide, judicial investigation of character. In full court, or in small committee, or confronted face to face, accuser and accused, men offer themselves to be judged. Against their will they exhibit those decisive trifles by which character is read. But who judges? and what? Not our understanding. We do not read them by learning or craft. No; the wisdom of the wise man consists herein, that he does not judge them; he lets them judge themselves, and merely reads and records their own verdict.

  • Marc Cannon

    Interesting perspective, Evan. Maybe my description of both acts aren’t painted clearly due the fact that I’m trying to be brief in the writing. Nonetheless, I do feel like there is are differences in the two. The essence of my point isn’t merely the to look at every instance known to man, but to take a step in the every day person’s mind, and look at snap judgments and then taking those judgments a step further than just state right from wrong. Of course there are condemnations we see every day and are okay. Courts of Law, medical (As you mentioned), arbitrary judgment in the workplace or industry setting…I agree that those who judge should do so rightly as Jesus instructed. I do think a lot of the time we overstep our bounds as far as casting our condemnation on people without cause; judgment too I suppose. I know we certainly condemn people without hearing their story or understanding a particular situation or point of view. I believe that to be true because I’ve lived it on both sides. The fact of the matter is that we don’t have the power to pass ultimate condemnation. Certainly death falls on the unbeliever and that’s not to be taken lightly in sharing the Gospel. Furthermore we can certainly bring to light the one who does condemn rightly. The last point and one that is clear in my post, before you take part in either of the two actions, regardless of whether they’re married or not…Stop, meditate and pray. A lot of hurts can be stopped if that were common practice.

    Thanks for you comment, I enjoy the debate. Hope you’re doing well my friend.

  • Evan Posey

    Unfortunately, I think that this particular distinction between judgement and condemnation does not hold up. The two words (Katakrino-to condemn or give judgement) and (Krino-to judge either positively or negatively) are too closely related. To artificially pit these two against one another requires that one perform some hermeneutical gymnastics. Perhaps the distinction that you are aiming at is exposed in Jesus’ words in John 7:24. He admonishes, “Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly.” In other words, Jesus does not instruct us not to judge, but how to judge. Perhaps it would be helpful to think about it this way…would we think ill of an oncologist that rightly diagnosed a cancerous lump (judgement) and pronounced a death sentence (condemnation) if preventative steps were not taken? Would we respond…”Don’t judge me!” or “Only God can condemn!” I would think not. Perhaps the variable is the spirit of humility behind the judgement/condemnation. Truth in love is like a velvet covered brick, and yet the very gospel that Christ calls us to share carries with it judgement and a death sentence. Just another perspective. At the very least, we should avoid the self refuting nature of claims like “You ought not judge” or “You are wrong for condemning me!”….after all, these claims are judgements and condemnations.

  • Michael Haralson

    I get confused between inspecting Fruit, Judging, Condemnation, Heathens ?

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