Day 14: Here Comes the Judge

60-Days-of-Second: Follow along as 15 bloggers journey through 4 readings each from the new book, Live Second: 365 Ways to Make Jesus First. Together they will blog through 60-Days-of-Second. Register to follow at Get the “Live Second” book in stores December 9.

Day 14 by Matt Sanner

“God does not use our measurements. He does not value beauty above humility. He does not measure wit and charisma above faith and integrity.” –Live Second, 17.

I make judgment calls all day long. I decide how to handle business strategy, how to discipline my kids, how to prioritize our home budget. I choose how to invest my time, and my money.

Some decisions are easy; “No, my darling daughter, you may not have a Snicker’s bar for breakfast.”  Some are tougher, like picking the right words in a delicate and difficult conversation with a friend.

The most difficult judgments involve people.  I don’t like it, but to be honest I frequently rely on first impressions and external appearances to make decisions about people.  And that’s when I fail as a judge.

I work for a company that prides itself on information-based decision-making.  Show me the data!  The more data, the better!  Dig through millions of records in a database, aggregate the information, and put it in a PowerPoint slideshow with pretty graphs that clearly show the correct path we should take.

Unfortunately, when it comes to people, there is no code we can run to tell us what is going on inside a person’s heart or head.  At a glance, we see only the outside.  So when I make a snap judgment about someone, I’m operating with less than all the data, and frequently that results in impressions that are flat-out wrong.

God told Samuel to anoint a king.  He told the prophet to go to the household of Jesse, and promised to tell Samuel whom to choose.

When Samuel walked in the door, he was immediately impressed by the oldest brother.  Tall, good-looking, strong…everything that seemed important in a king.  He thought to himself, “this must be the one.”

And Samuel got it wrong.  He missed the call.

What I love about this is that Samuel was a prophet who had actual conversations with God, and he STILL mis-judged.  That is so encouraging to me.

Jesse brought seven brothers, one after another, in front of Samuel.  Each time, God said, “nope…not him.”  Confused, Samuel asked if that was everyone.  Jesse answered, “There is still the youngest.  He is tending sheep.”  And that was David.  The little brother.  The smelly shepherd.  And God said, “That’s the one!”  David was the king God had chosen…a man that the Bible says was “a man after God’s own heart”.

God looks past the external and knows the heart.

I see height, weight, gender, skin color, accent, complexion, fashion, vocabulary.  I put people in boxes based on what I see, even though there is so much more to a person.  God sees heart, goals, fears, dreams, motives.  He sees the whole person.

When Samuel was wrong about David’s oldest brother, he listened to what God said about him, and trusted His judgment.  That’s what I want to do…I want to repent of my vision that sees the external.  I want to second-guess my decision-making skills when it comes to people, and learn how to see people the way He does.

It’s unlikely that He will speak to me in an audible voice and tell me what to really think about someone.  So then what?  I think, in that case, the jury has to remain out.  I know that my judgment is uninformed, and I don’t have the extra information I need, since I can’t peer into their souls the way God does.  So, the only thing I can do is to wait.  Resist the urge to “figure out” the person, and treat them the way I know God wants me to.  (The word “unconditional” comes to mind.)

Lord, forgive my judgments, and help me to see people with Your perspective, and help me to love them no matter what.


Check out Matt Sanner’s regular blog at Head and heart, tossed together and served up fresh. @themattsanner

Next for the 60-Days-of-Second: Day 14- “Patience….Right now” by Matt Sanner

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