Don’t Jump to Conclusions
1Cor. 4:5 Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive commendation from God.
Christians were judging other Christians and questioning their motives. Paul said that this was to stop because it was becoming destructive to the work and ministry of the church. It was not the place of the Corinthians to judge the motives or things hidden in the hearts of their brothers and sisters in Christ. Instead, they were to work to live at peace with one another, trying to bear with one another and allow God to be the judge. At the appointed time praise would come for the things done or not done — but that praise would come from God.
Let’s be honest, there have been times that we’ve wondered why someone has behaved a particular way, or we’ve questioned their motivations. However, if we don’t truly know the heart of the individual then we are simply speculating. The sad truth is that speculation can take us on a very destructive journey.
Have you ever had one of those conversations with someone — the one where they tell you what they think you’re thinking and why you’re acting the way you are? I’ve had one or two of those in my lifetime and usually I’m pretty stunned because my mind had never gone to those places. That’s why allowing our minds to wander and judge others is incredibly detrimental to the family of God. Remember that Jesus had told his followers, “Judge not that ye be not judged.” There was a reason for that, for he knew what it would do to the community of faith. Jesus had also declared that the world would know his followers by their love for one another — and that’s why we need to stop jumping to conclusions.
As we draw closer to Jesus Christ his light will shine upon us and reveal the areas of our lives that need to be cleaned up. When we begin cleaning up the dark corners of our own lives we will realize that we are in no condition to be condemning others. To condemn others is to think that we are somehow superior to them spiritually and this is pure and simple arrogance.
Barnes says the passage teaches us:
(1.) that we should not be guilty of harsh judgment of others.
(2.) The reason is, that we cannot know their feelings and motives.
(3.) That all secret things will be brought forth in the great day, and nothing be concealed beyond that time.
(4.) That every man shall receive justice there. He shall be treated as he ought to be. The destiny of no one will be decided by the opinions of men.
And aren’t we grateful that our destiny is not determined by others’ opinions of us!
The other day my husband shared with me this ancient Celtic reading:
To a woman who complained about her destiny the Abba said, 'It is you who make your destiny.'
The woman said, 'But surely I am not responsible for being born a woman?'
The Abba replied, 'Being a woman isn't destiny. That is fate. Destiny is how you accept your
womanhood and what you make of it.'
We should never jump to conclusions about the motivations, hearts or minds of other individuals. Also, we should never allow the opinions of others to shape our destiny. Instead, we should seek to be a reflection of Jesus Christ every single day of our lives and in the end, allow our commendation to come from God.
Lord, please help me keep my focus on you. Amen.