Back in 1968, singer and comic Dewey “Pigmeat” Markham released a song called “Here Comes the Judge.” Later, Sammy Davis, Jr. made this a staple sketch on “Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In.” Soon this became such a ubiquitous catch-phrase that even Pontiac jumped on the bandwagon, releasing an option package for the legendary GTO called “The Judge.”
This cliche meant a cleanup was coming. That the law was going to be laid down. Even Pontiac saw this iteration of the GTO to be the “laying down of the law” to other muscle cars. At the end of the day, though, it was parody — to most people anyway.
People like judgment. Judgment affords a sense of superiority. However, man was given dominion over all things in the earth, not over other people.
Romans 14:13 (ESV) 13 Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother.
Romans 2:1 (ESV) 1 Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things.
Apparently, in Paul’s day this was a problem. Like it is today. And I have a confession to make:
I was guilty, too.
See, I got hold of this revelation of God’s unconditional Love and Grace and said to myself, “this is it!” As I began to share it, I became galvanized in my belief. I became haughty and proud as I came to the conclusion that I was in possession of a layer of truth that only a few — like myself — had access to.
I became a Grace Pharisee!
I would frequently say, “There it is in Scripture — in black and white!” It was so patently obvious to me.
Not only was I galvanized in my position, I was unwilling to concede that anyone else is right.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I still believe that the Gospel is the revelation of Liberty in Christ through God’s unconditional Love and Grace. I believe this because of the change I’ve seen in my life, in the lives of this church family, and in the lives of friends and family all over the world.
Grace is the Gospel. And it works.
Here’s the problem, I became unwelcome before I even showed up. You could hear the song queued-up, “Here comes the judge…”
But Love. Love says I must have empathy and walk in the shoes of others and see things through their eyes. Love says I must have compassion, and care deeply about others and the situations they face and the conditions they live in.
So love says “pump your brakes.” Love says proceed with caution. Love says judge not:
Luke 6:35-37 (ESV) 5 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. 36 Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful. 37 “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven;
Love says I have to not only forgive those who don’t see things as I do but to also concede that I do not have all the answers. As a matter of fact, the more I learn about God and Liberty in Christ through His unconditional Love and Grace, the more I realize I need to learn. This is how you submit yourselves to God — recognizing that He has all the answers and that all you have, on your best day, is a good set of questions.
Love does not judge. I refer back to the Biblical characteristics of love:
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (ESV) 4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.
No judgment there, folks!
Jesus said He judges no one and warned us about judging by the flesh:
John 8:15-16 (ESV) 15 You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one. 16 Yet even if I do judge, my judgment is true, for it is not I alone who judge, but I and the Father who sent me.
Here Jesus is telling us that judgment is the exclusive province of the Father. He did not judge anyone in the flesh — setting an example for us — but He judges in the Spirit because He and the Father are one.
I implore you with the love of Jesus, get out of the judgment seat. None of us are the arbiter of Scriptural truth or doctrinal purity. It’s this kind of thinking that not only repels and repulsed the unsaved but it destroys the desire to fellowship among the Saints.
Ask yourself, “Have you reached the conclusion that everyone must see it as you do and agree with your interpretation or we’re lost?” If so, that’s horribly judgmental. Do you find yourself saying only you (or your pastor, church, or denomination) knows God’s pure word and the rest of us are lost?
Remember, this is YOUR INTERPRETATION. If you cannot concede this point, you have enthroned yourself as the judge of Scriptural accuracy and doctrinal purity. No one has all the answers:
1 Corinthians 13:12 (ESV) 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
When we show up, folks shouldn’t cringe. People should be glad you’re there! I’m going to wrap this up with one of my favorite passages of Scripture:
Romans 10:15 (ESV) 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”
When someone arrived in ancient times, they were known by the sound of their footsteps. When someone came preaching the law, it was said they “walked heavy.” However, the Gospel puts a spring in your step. You walk in the newness of life which allows you to walk lightly. You are able to walk freely instead of walking on eggshells.
We have to remember that the Judge has already come and He has already judged mankind righteous — so our judgment is rendered unnecessary.
When you walk in, do people say, “Here comes the judge…”
Or do they say, “Here comes love!”
© 2017 – Derrick Day (www.derrickday.com)