One of the areas that I believe greatly harms the cause of Christ today is False Judgments. As most of you know I counsel several people outside our church because of Hope Biblical Counseling Center. I am contacted all the time because of the hurts people experience in their lives, ministries, and in their churches. In the last few months, a Bible principle has been brought to my attention several times. In fact, many times over the last few years. It is almost like the devil puts blinders on God’s people when this subject comes up. The principle is clearly outlined in Proverbs 18:13, “He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.” What is this verse talking about? It means I hear both sides of a story before I make a Biblical judgment. Sadly in the day in which we live Christians are all the time jumping to conclusions because of something someone said and they do not have all the facts or even bothered to find out all the facts. They just listened to one side or a side that was repeated several times from others and never spoke to the other side to find out the facts. Clearly a violation of Scripture and hurts many people and the cause of Christ. Rule of thumb spiritually per Proverbs 18:13, “Don’t make any judgments until you have heard both sides of a story”.
In marriage counseling, I have made it a rule never to just listen to one side. When I first started in the ministry, generally, Kim and I would have a wife or husband that wanted to talk with us. We would sit down with one of them. Their version of events was always a horrible story and their spouse always looked bad. What was very enlightening was when I talked with the spouse! Then when you talked with both of them together it was many times a different story all together! That does not mean there are not people out there who do dumb and stupid things to hurt their spouse. It is easy to make a false judgment when you just hear only one side. Also, another rule of thumb is don’t give counsel without hearing both sides, because you can give false counsel based on what you heard which may be very slanted one way or not the truth at all. Pastors and Christian workers really need to learn this rule of thumb.
In a case recently outside our church a family in leadership in a church has been devastated because someone got mad at them because they did not agree with something that the person in leadership did or how they handled something and then passed information on to others which was blatantly false and slanted to their view. (They never handled this in a Biblical manner and only went by how they felt). They handled themselves in a disrespectful angry fashion with people because they did not get their way! This is childish behavior. Certainly not behavior that honors and glorifies the Lord, I Corinthians 6:19-20. Then the people who received that information without ever talking to the people involved (who were talked about) in the scenario made a false judgment based on “what they had heard without ever checking the facts”. They then gave incorrect counsel because they did not know all the facts. I think that is called gossip, slander, and charging falsely. It certainly violates Proverbs 18:13 and several other passages of Scripture. (Makes you almost sick to write it let alone think it). Makes you weary having to counsel it as well! It happens all the time because people in their old nature want to believe the worst about someone or some ministry just because someone else said it.
Many ministries and people in the church are slandered and hurt in this day because people repeat something they heard or make a false judgment about it and never bother to talk to the people involved to understand why they made the decisions they did. By doing this they charge people falsely. Leviticus 19:11, “Ye shall not steal neither deal falsely; neither lie one to another.”
Of course, it kind of goes something like this, “I want to share this with you, but you cannot let (the person who they are talking about know)”. Why not? If you are going to “seek counsel” to justify your actions or behavior be willing to let the person you are getting counsel from hear both sides so they can make an accurate and true Biblical judgment. Then they can give you wise counsel and not until.
What does the Bible say? Psalm 101:5, Whoso privily (means only going by what was gossiped about or the slanted facts rather than checking the facts and not wanting the slandered party to know you said it or heard it) slandereth his neighbor, him will I cut off….” Why is this done? The second half of the verse is clear, “him that have a high look and a proud heart will not I suffer.” Therefore it is a pride issue. Satan is always involved in these things.
Psalm 101:7, He that worketh deceit shall not dwell within my house: he that telleth lies shall not tarry in my sight.
Proverbs 10:18, He that hideth hatred with lying lips, and he that uttereth a slander is a fool.”
Of course the person who gets mad and blows up just because someone does not agree with them or do what they want justifies their anger, blowing up, and their false speaking with a whole list of perceived wrongs. I have told our church folks in many people’s mind perception is reality whether it is true or not. Most of the time in these instances they are looking for something rather than submitting themselves to God. Have you ever noticed the talk is well, “They were not up front or they did not tell me” or they wish to slant the facts when they were told something may happen or would not happen. The reason they were not told is because they are angry immature Christians who you are dogged if you do or dogged if you don’t! Mechanical Christians always respond in this way. Folks, if you are angry with your brother and blow up at him you are wrong and you need to repent of it. It is sin, Ephesians 4:29-31. Sometimes you cannot tell people things because you don’t have concrete facts to tell. There is never a need to speculate on something and then it not happen. Maturity means I do not look for things, but seek to turn things over to God.
Another spiritual rule of thumb: Don’t tell anything to an angry spirited person, because they will always turn it and use it against you in a slanted way. Or they talk to others to “get their counsel” and slant the facts to make themselves look good and of course to justify their decisions or their actions. The Bible is plain on this issue as well. Ephesians 4:29-31, “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may ministers grace to the hearers. And grieve not the holy spirit of God whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, be put away from you with all malice.” What part of all do we not understand in the anger issue? Blowing up and getting angry grieves the Holy Spirit and hurts people. It is not godly and it hurts your family as well, Ephesians 6:4. Malice means with intent to hurt. Many ministries and lives today are ran this way and folks get angry when people do not do what they want and cause all kinds of grief for people in an angry spirit. They, of course, never tell anyone else how they acted in a fit of anger “when they seek counsel of others”. Or even how they hurt other people in their church with their angry spirit or blowing up at different people in church rather than turning their anger over to the Holy Spirit.
Sadly, this kind of thing goes on all the time. Just in the past month I have heard the same type of story numerous times in counseling with pastors, missionaries, evangelists, and church folks in scenarios involving others. It hurts people, it hurts the church, it hurts the cause of Christ, it hurts families, and God’s people need to learn to be controlled by the Holy Spirit rather than to act in a manner that Ephesians 4:30 says grieves the Holy Spirit.
Just a reminder that every Christian needs to be careful what we hear and what we do with what we hear. A rule of thumb is don’t repeat it unless you have heard both sides and it will be appropriate to repeat it. Just because you heard it does not make it true and accurate or even appropriate to repeat it! Pastors, even if someone talked to you about it to “seek your counsel”. Don’t make false judgments about it either because you have not heard the other side!
Many times people have to make decisions that others do not like because it is the correct and right thing to do. Don’t get caught with the “I will tell you this if you don’t tell”. You can make false judgments by not hearing all sides and when someone says “don’t tell the person I am talking about”. It is sin.
The same thing happens to parents and children in the home. People talk without thinking or following the Bible’s admonitions and their children are turned to wrath against them, Ephesians 6:4. Let me give the Biblical scenario that a Spirit controlled Christian follows. They must learn to ask God questions:
1. God is this my problem? If God says it is your problem you ask for His forgiveness and repent of it, I John 1:9. However, people many times will ask God, but they already believe it is not their problem. It is the way a mechanical Christian does it. They are not open to God’s answer. They are asking God with no submission of themselves, James 4:7. They are the unstable man of James 1:8. “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways”.
2 If God says it is not your problem then you ask God “should I speak” about this? So many Christians speak without ever asking God anything. They speak because they are angry or think they have been harmed in some way. Or they ask God only to “pray about it” in an angry justified spirit.
3. Finally, if God say it is okay to speak, “speak the truth in love”, Ephesians 4:15. The more truth you speak the more truth you need to use.
Folks, it is very easy to make false judgments if we are not spiritually guarding our self. God wants us to glorify Him in our body and in our spirit. We cannot glorify God if we are not guarding our self and making false judgments. Can you look back in your life and remember when you made a false judgment because of not hearing all the facts? If you are currently practicing making false judgments without hearing all the facts the place with God is repentance and making matters right with others. Just remember people can disagree with each other without slandering each other.