Links Daily Devotional

The Time to Judge

It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore, judge nothing until the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. (1 Corinthians 4:4-5, NIV)

I grew more than a little excited on Thursday afternoon, when I took a look at the leaderboard from the Humana Challenge. Links Player and former Humana champion Mark Wilson was going very low. According to the live leaderboard, as a matter of fact, Wilson had made two eagles while going out in 28!

Through the afternoon I kept an eye on Wilson’s score in my own personal 59 watch. Once he made a string of pars, 59 was off the table, but this was still a good round. He birdied his seventeenth to go 9-under and was tied for the lead.

A bit later I looked again to see how he had finished. He had ended at 8-under, with what looked like a bogey at the last.

When I checked his card, though, something was goofy. Wilson had birdied the last two holes. How had his score gone up when he had birdied the last hole? It turns out that the live leaderboard was wrong all day. Wilson had gone out in 31, not 28, and the corrections were made only after he turned in his signed card.

In the kingdom of God, it is just as easy to get quickly worked up about matters that appear certain. What we might call the Christian social media landscape is lit up with doctrinal battles and theological nuance-turned-nasty. Taking only a sentence or two under consideration, the naysayers go rant-happy and grace is hard to find.

Even in the church, not everyone will agree on all points. Peter and Paul clashed, we know, as did Paul and Barnabas. But we typically agree on more than we think—and almost always on the most important things (though we can also get caught up in arguing about which things really are the most important!). What we aren’t always good at doing is waiting to speak until we’ve talked.

What does that mean? I often tell people, when I hear them make a snap judgment about the beliefs of a brother or sister, that it would be helpful if we could sit down across the table from that other one and allow them to explain. What we say in short is not always what we would say in a full conversation, and often two people who allow for such an exchange find many places where they agree and come to understand the heart of the other even when they don’t.

And there is another level still, one Paul wrote about to the Corinthians. It is this: God alone knows the whole truth. Paul went so far as to say that while he deemed his own conscience clear, he would defer to the coming judgment of God.

Are we willing to be patient in our judgment? Discernment is always important, and we are allowed our convictions (see Romans 14), but absolute understanding and final analysis are God’s work. And our work is to let him do his—even if we must wait until the coming of the Lord.

Jeff Hopper
January 26, 2015
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