Intentions and Actions

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I heard something a long time ago that is probably appropriate for today’s world. 

Are you ready for this?

We love to judge people by their actions, and yet demand they judge us by our intentions. 

“Here’s what I meant…”

“Let me explain to you what I was thinking…”

“I realize what it looked like, or sounded like, but that wasn’t what I was saying…”

Have you ever heard the phrase, “Give them the benefit of the doubt”?

It implies taking into consideration, as you are gathering the facts you’ll use to pass judgment upon someone, that it’s impossible to know everything about someone; their actions AND their motives.

Notice I said “impossible”.

I’ll admit I have been as guilty as anyone; judging and sentencing someone I “know” is as guilty as sin.

But I could be missing something important.

Jesus said something that just might save you and I a lot of heartache and trouble; IF we take heed.

“For you will be treated as you treat others.  The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.” (Matthew 7:2 NLT)

The standard. The rule. The measuring stick. Used by one for all.

“I know what I see and hear. Therefore, because I saw you do… and say… you are guilty.”

So, with that “understanding”, your next move is to sentence the criminal. This is done in a number of ways:

1. Belittling

2. Demeaning

3. Ignoring

4. Ostracizing

5. Gossiping

6. Physical attacks

But is that the way YOU want to be treated? Are YOU ready to be tethered to the same leash you want others to be tied to? 

It’s not a good idea.

You see, there’s only One Who knows everything about everyone.

And neither you, nor I, are that person.

We are told throughout the scriptures to judge with righteous judgment.

However, most people, myself included, have an extremely hard time judging one’s actions apart from any personal bias. 

Again, there’s only One Who can.

So the next time you build a case against someone, stop and think. Is it possible you may have missed something in the way you interpreted their actions, heard their conversation, or read their writings? Would YOU want someone to draw and quarter you based on the same information?

What would Jesus do?