Friday, February 22, 2008

Don’t Make Hasty Judgments

Potiphar didn’t give Joseph a chance to explain himself about the accusations of his wife. Had he, he would have found out that he had an unfaithful wife (he probably later learned that the hard way). Instead, in anger and a rush to judgment, he had Joseph thrown into prison. I know the divine plan of God in all this, but humor me just a minute as I discuss the problem that pastors have with hasty judgments.

We often are presented with issues and conflicts that need to be resolved. The person presenting his case first always seems right. If we make a judgment based on that first disclosure, most of the time we make it erroneously. When we find out the ‘real’ truth, we have egg on our faces and scramble to undo what can’t be undone!

That is nothing new. One of my favorite scriptures about this is found in Proverbs 18:17:

The first to present his case seems right, till another comes forward and questions him. NIV

The Message Bible says it this way:
The first speech in a court case is always convincing — until the cross-examination starts!

There ARE always two sides to a story! How I have been embarrassed by my hasty decisions before I hear both sides of the story. Again, Proverbs has something to say about this:

Pr 18:13
He who answers before listening (to both sides - my addition) — that is his folly and his shame. NIV

I had an issue once where someone had revealed some things about others! I was indignant and ready to make heads roll! What was revealed infuriated me! But, I remembered the need to get with the other people and question what was said. Because of busyness our meeting was delayed. It gave me time to calm down, pray about it, and apply grace to the situation.

When I met with them and heard ‘the rest of the story’ boy was I glad I didn’t make a hasty judgment! In fact, what was revealed put the whole situation and the first person in a totally different light. I was enlightened and shocked.

Remember, before you make a judgment:
1. Calm down
2. Pray
3. Give it time (time really does have a way of proving all things)
4. Seek out the other side to hear them out
5. Apply grace
6. Make the judgment

Keep in mind, a judge sits quietly on the bench until both sides have presented their arguments and cross-examined. It is then and only then that he renders a judgment. We need that wisdom as pastors!

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