“Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge with right judgement.” John 7:24
In John 7:14-36 Jesus goes in secret to Judea to attend the Festival of Tabernacles. Halfway through the festival Jesus enters the temple and begins to teach. The people there were amazed that someone without formal education could be so learned. The religious leaders were especially threatened by this. If they could find reasons to dismiss Jesus, (because of the way he was dressed, because he had not attended a prestigious institution, etc.), they could also dismiss his teachings. Jesus entreats the crowd to “Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge with right judgement.” (John 7:24)
In today’s world it is often thought unacceptable to judge, whether it’s someone or something; but all judgements are not bad. In fact, there are times when using “judgement” is not only useful but necessary. For example, during COVID, doctors and nurses often had to use their best judgement for treatment based on past experiences, available supplies, latest research, etc. In John 7:24 Jesus does not condemn judgement but emphasizes the importance of “right judgement”. For example, not judging someone by their appearance, what school they attended or where they grew up; rather judging them impartially, without favoritism i.e., with simple fairness. It means not accepting an idea simply because there are increased numbers of people promoting it or because it will make one unpopular to disagree.
“Right judgement” involves a willingness to listen with an open mind, especially to the “other side”. It requires us to question our assumptions and perhaps move out of our comfort zone. With the unrest that exists in today’s climate it’s more important than ever that we use “right judgement” to help us address the pressing issues that face us. In doing so we can find ourselves entering into an even deeper relationship with God.
Prayer: Lord, let me be this kind of person.