We live in a world of ready evaluation. Students get evaluated on their academics with grades (A, B, C, D, F! or sometimes I for incomplete). Athletes are graded on their performance, musicians to hit the correct notes and other artists to inspire the intended audience.
Even in a more general sense we size up people with predetermined criteria (rightly or wrongly) which provides a personal and sometimes public judgment. Evaluation is all around us.
And yet, when it comes to the spiritual nature we are often adverse to evaluation. We say things like, “Don’t judge me” or “You don’t know what I think or my true motivations”.
JESUS seemed to think this was possible,
Matthew 7:5 “first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”
Matthew 7:16-20 “You’ll recognize them by their fruit. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 In the same way, every good tree produces good fruit, but a bad tree produces bad fruit. 18 A good tree can’t produce bad fruit; neither can a bad tree produce good fruit. 19 Every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 So you’ll recognize them by their fruit.”
Matthew 12:35-37 “A good man produces good things from his storeroom of good, and an evil man produces evil things from his storeroom of evil. I tell you that on the day of judgment people will have to account for every careless word they speak. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”
Luke 6:43-45 “A good tree doesn’t produce bad fruit; on the other hand, a bad tree doesn’t produce good fruit. For each tree is known by its own fruit. Figs aren’t gathered from thornbushes, or grapes picked from a bramble bush. A good man produces good out of the good storeroom of his heart. An evil man produces evil out of the evil storeroom, for his mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart.”
Luke 13:6-9 “And He told this parable: “A man had a fig tree that was planted in his vineyard. He came looking for fruit on it and found none. He told the vineyard worker, ‘Listen, for three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it even waste the soil?’ “But he replied to him, ‘Sir, leave it this year also, until I dig around it and fertilize it. Perhaps it will bear fruit next year, but if not, you can cut it down.’ ”
John 13:35 “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
And before Jesus there was John the baptizer who said
Luke 3:8 “Bear fruits in keeping with repentance.”
SO… what do you think? Is it possible to judge yourself and someone spiritually? How would you do it? Where would you start? Is there a Biblical guideline or template we could use?
In my next post I will share some criteria that I have been thinking through on how to approach this subject. This has been a topic I have been considering for several years and even more so now that I am a parent of growing children. I think it is helpful to share and discuss, so I appreciate any feedback from the readers.