Monday, May 18, 2015

I Profile Snakes, Spiders, Very Young Drivers, And Judge Greasy Cafe Floors, Electric Wires, And Toilet Talk

When God sent Samuel to interview the sons of Jesse to choose a new king of Israel, Samuel started with the oldest, tall, dark and handsome, and most obvious choice, and then worked his way down to the youngest, and least obvious choice. God rejected each of  his older brothers. God's choice was David. If God hadn't been there, Samuel would have anointed the first son king and would never have seen or cared to see young David. But God was there and told Samuel, a very good and spiritual man, he was wrong and instructed him ...."... Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart." 1 Sam.16:7. 

We understand that God looks beyond the flesh, the "outward appearance" into the heart to the true, inner feelings, thoughts, lusts and ambitions of a person. It is much more difficult for we humans to understand that the outward appearance of a person does not usually reveal much about the true inner character. We cannot see the mind or heart, the love or hate the faith or doubt, the sincerely or deception within someone. We can only see or hear what a person does or says. We see their actions, clothes, cleanliness, tattoos, and rings in their noses or tongues. We cannot hear their thoughts or beliefs. We hear their words, comforting or cursing, lying or laughing. So if we cannot see the true person, inside the flesh, all we have left is, as God said, "the outward appearance", plus our past experiences with them, and God's word, to judge who and what they really are. And be sure, we will judge people if we have any dealings with people at all. You will judge the "baggy britches gang" of cursing, sneering, young men, wielding guns, and coming toward you in the Detroit ghetto you get lost in some night ..... The con-artist who calls you on the phone and won't let you say no but rattles off his sales pitch on and on. The guy or gal at work who continually hits on you.... or your wife or husband. The other guy who constantly wants to borrow more money.... The guy who curses every other word. We will judge people. But Jesus said "Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment." Jn.7:24. The word "appearance" is limited to what we see. How can we "Judge righteous Judgement" if we cannot see into the heart and mind of a person? He must mean to judge people only by the standards of God's word. Jesus was looking into the hearts of the religious leaders, of that day, when he said...."Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness." Matt.23:27. These men looked holy on the outside, in their religious regalia, but inside were full of rottenness. 

Good works are mostly outward, visible things like giving, helping, teaching, witnessing, encouraging and showing kindness like the "good Samaritan" in Luke 10. A traveler was attacked, robbed, beaten and left for dead on the Jericho Road. A very religious priest came along and walked around the wounded man. A religious Levite walked by, looked the man over and went on his way. Then an outcast, half-breed Samaritan came along, treated the man's wounds, put him on his donkey, took him to an inn, took care of the man, then left money for the inn-keeper to care for him until he was well and promised to repay any extra when he stopped there the next time. If you looked upon the "appearance" of the priest and Levitt in their religious vestments and upon the common, outcast Samaritan, who would you judge would have showed compassion and helped the helpless man?

James, the half-brother of Jesus, challenged, "Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: (but) shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.  Jm.2:18. James went on to say, "For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also." Jm.2:26.  Faith itself is invisible, but the "works" of faith are clearly seen by everyone. And yet good works do not necessarily reflect a good heart. Even so, good works, an outward show of true faith, is all we can see and know of a professing Christian's inner faith, heart and commitment to Christ. Those things cannot be seen except by the person's outward actions.

The only way to judge the danger of a spider or snake is by outward appearance.
When my son Rex, his mother and I were discussing this, he saw a small woolly black spider on the door. I looked the spider over (profiled him) and said "He isn't a Black Widow or Brown Recluse so he is probably harmless." Then I realized I was judging that spider by his "outward appearance" not by his little heart which I could not see into. I judge snakes the same way. There are only four poisonous ones natural to the U.S. If the snake isn't a Rattler, Moccasin, Copperhead or Coral, he is not poisonous so I pardon him for looking evil, and let him live. Like it or not, almost everyone judges certain characteristics of people, unknown to them, as a good sign or a bad sign of that person's potential for good or harm and much of the time we will be wrong.

The Apostle Paul warned us to ..."Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil." 1 Thess.5:21-22. We have to judge a thing if we are to "prove" it and "abstain" from it, and if that thing is being offered to us by someone, we have to judge them to be wrong in what they are doing. "Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God...." 2 Cor.10:5. Sometimes we have to judge or discriminate or conclude that a person is not the kind of friend God would have us run with. Parents must help their children cull out certain friends whose words and actions reveal who they really are inside. It isn't enough for you teens to second guess your parents by saying,  "Just because he curses, lies, does drugs, steals and gets drunk doesn't mean he is all bad.... nobody is perfect".  The parents opinion is nearly always more perceptive, but even when wrong, they are still God's appointed authority over you.

"And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them."  Eph.5:11. "fellowship" signifies at least one other person. So he is saying, you must determine or judge if the actions and lifestyle of that other person are "unfruitful works of darkness" and then "have no fellowship" with that person but "reprove them". Tell them what they are doing is wrong.

"Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly...." 2 Thess.3:6. Are you judging him if you tell him he is wrong and "withdraw" from him? Not if you are judging his actions or words, as contrary to God's word, and are not condemning him but "reproving" him. I think that would be, in the 
words of Jesus, "righteous judgement". Jn.7:24. RB