Much of life is about making judgments. One of many definitions given the word judgment is, “the process of forming an opinion or evaluation by discerning and comparing.” That is when we make judgment calls. We look at a thing or person and we evaluate or discern or compare. But form an opinion to evaluate, etc. based on...what?

There can be several factors behind the judgment we make. Seldom is there just one thing.  For example, the time in which a person is born and has spent their formative years impact our judgment. The world my parents were born into and lived their formative years is nothing near the same as their great-grandchildren. That world view impacts the judgments that are made by each one. Another is the family of which we are born or adopted. Where did that family live? What was the culture like? How were they treated? Again, another factor is our economic background. Did our family spend most every dime or save? How budget conscious were they? On it goes.

Religiously we are impacted much the same way. I would like to believe it is the truth that moves most people, but I fear it is not. Including me.  I would like to think we look at any given issue to be questioned, and then did a diligent study through God’s word and formed our judgment. But even then, the way we do that search is impacted by other factors. We want to be honest, but how much of my judgments and approach to scripture are due to my teachers? Teachers influence and we carry their traits with us. It is true of parents and their impact on us. We never completely leave the influence they have on our lives, nor should we. But those things travel with me through life and impact the judgments I make.

Even in the time in which we live, religiously impact our judgment. Those raised post-1970 have no experience with the issues that challenged many of God’s people from the 1930s-1960’s. In fact, just to mention that time span is beyond the comprehension of many of us today. That time period impacted how we looked at the Bible and the church. It influenced the decisions we made regarding the work of the church and many other things. I believe those influences were correct and good and true. That is my judgment.

The challenge with judgment and how it is formed is when we come to God’s word and its absolute truth. If our judgment is a by-product of diligent study and application of God’s truth, with a minimal influence of other factors, our judgment will most likely be close to absolute truth. But our judgment will never be one hundred percent pure.

We want life to be governed by God and His word. We want our judgment to be consistent with His value and principles. We strive for that but along the way our judgment gets in the way. If we're not careful, we begin to use our judgment as the standard of right and wrong and never take it back to God and His word.

Here is the deal…, the longer I live, the more I see life comprised of our judgments. And the more I live, the more I see myself and others judging people by their judgment. Which may be right, and most likely is incorrect if not just plain wrong. We do not have eyes to see one hundred percent objectively. But, is using my judgment, one is right or wrong because I say so.

I pray for mercy with others and from others. I love what Paul said: “But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by a human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. For I know nothing against myself, yet I am not justified by this; but He who judges me is the Lord” (1 Cor. 4:3-4).

We all make judgments, but be careful not to trust them absolutely!

Rickie Jenkins