Is ignorance really bliss?
It’s amazing to me that in this play we call “life”, how quickly many assume the part of judge, often rendering judgement on others and formulating conclusions without a word being spoken! Yet, we despise the thought of being judged by others as they don’t know our story…
Several years ago, while in engineering school, I remembered seeing a girl in the Student Center, dressed as though she belonged in the year 2017, but in 1983. Without exchanging a single word with this young woman, I had labeled her a freak, convinced that she was a loser, someone who was into drugs. My friends and I speculated what she could possibly do once she graduated, that’s even if she would graduate! On graduation day, after receiving our diplomas and returning to our seats, one of my friends nudged me to tell me to look on stage at who was to received their diploma. It was the same young woman who we had labeled as a loser… only to find out that she was graduating summa cum laude, with a double major AND double minor, all focused on mathematics and physics, with a 4.0 GPA in each of her programs of study… and all completed in four years! Can I chalk this up to being young and foolish? Perhaps… but what was really going on here? Is judgement inate? Or is it just easier to judge others based on pre-conceived ideas of what we believe is ‘right’, as not judging requires work and offering grace?
Before looking at scripture, consider this… when Jesus returns, what will He look like? What will He be wearing? I’ve wondered lately if He’ll come back dressed as my classmate several years ago just to see how He’ll be treated… particularly by Christians who are called to a higher standard.
If there is one theme to take from Matthew 7:1-5, it is that judgement is best left to God, as judgement left to His children, can, and often does, get messy. In the first two verses of this chapter, we’re warned against passing judgement upon others, because when we do, we will be judged in a similar manner.
“For with what judgement you judge, you will be judged; and the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.” Matthew 7:1-2
So, Jesus doesn’t forbid the judgement of others, but does warn us that our judgement be fair, and that judgment be imposed based on a standard that we would also desire to be judged by! Hopefully, wisdom has us, as Christians, taking the higher road, as there are times when we aren’t sure of what’s inside our own hearts… battling mixed emotions, half-hearted desires for goodness, and character flaws that fall short of God’s standards. Would we want others to see us and render judgement during these seasons of life?
We’re better off not trying to play God for others, and we certainly weren’t created to be anyone’s holy spirit and conscience. (Thank you Jesus!!) What a burden THAT would be to have to identify everything we thought was wrong about others. Not only would we face the pressure of having to be right in our judgement, but we would also need to make sure our own lives were faultless before we cast judgment on others!
In a very deeper sense, God gave us a gift by not granting us the ability to read other people’s hearts, and asks us not to judge others according to our own standards. And as a people, we should be grateful, that in this case, ignorance really is bliss! Instead, were called to offer those we encounter with, grace, and leave judgement to the One we can trust to be the one true, fair, and just judge.
Heavenly Father, thank you for keeping me ignorant of the deep places of other people’s hearts. Please help me to value Your Holy Spirit working in them, as well as in me, to mold each of us as You see fit, and please help me not to intrude where I don’t belong… Amen!