Many of us grew up hearing the quote, “Judge not according to appearance but judge righteous judgment” (John 7:24 KJV).
I don’t remember reading those words in light of the motive and moment in which Jesus said them.
Now I’m looking at them again in a story of rivals who were accusing our Teacher of breaking the law by healing a man on the Sabbath.
I’m also finally ready to see how important it is to know that, in the days of King James, translators chose the word “judge” from a word that had a range of meaning that included “to distinguish”, “to assess”, “to decide”, “to test”, “to judge”, or “to condemn”.
So, I think I may finally be hearing something that rings true to the Teacher who did nothing that wasn’t loving. Now I hear the love judge saying, “Why should you be angry with me for healing a man on the Sabbath? Look beneath the surface so you can judge correctly” (John 7:23-24 NLT).
Has me thinking again of how early in life I also must have heard “Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful” (Proverbs 27:6).
Seems like only yesterday that I’ve begun to see that the best time to “judge” may be when we are ready to do it at our own expense for the good of another.