Spelling judgment and what it means to God

Published 7:57 pm Monday, June 11, 2018

Have you ever had trouble with the second “e” in judgement? You’re not alone. According to the Grammarly Blog and the Oxford Dictionary, it’s “judgement” in general but “judgment” in legal usage in England. As far back as 1797, Samuel Johnson used “judgement” as the basis for several words in his dictionary.

In America, it’s “judgment,” and it is, in general, “the evaluation of evidence to make a decision.” In legal terms, “judgment” is “the final finding, statement, or ruling, based on a considered weighing of the evidence” called “adjudication.” And in religion, “judgment” is “the adjudication of God in determining Heaven or Hell for each and all human beings (Wikipedia).”

As a chemist, my job was to make judgments based on the evidence, and as a pastor, my job is to tell people about God’s judgments based on good works and grace.

The psalmist in Psalm 75, tells us, “Judgment does not come from the east or from the west, from the north or from the south; it is God who is the judge, condemning some and acquitting others. The Lord holds a cup in his hand, filled with the strong wine of his anger. He pours it out, and all the wicked drink it; they drink it down to the last drop.”

Jesus would later tell a story about a wheat field. A farmer planted good wheat seed, but that night an enemy slipped into his field and planted bearded darnel. It’s a common, slightly poisonous Palestinian weed, and the wheat and the weeds grew up together.

The farm hands asked the owner if he wanted them to pull up the bearded darnel, but there was a problem. The immature plants look the same until they mature and the “heads” are colored differently.

So the owner told his farm hands to leave the field until the plants were mature. Then, during the harvest, they would separate the wheat from the darnel. Then they would sell or use the wheat and destroy the darnel.

There are three characters in this story. Some people, like the mature darnel are simply weeds with no interest in God or good. Other people, like the immature darnel appear to be good, but they are not. And a few people, like the wheat are simply good. It’s a critical story about judgment (or judgement?), the most misunderstood concept in the Christian faith.

The Bible says none of us are good, so trying to be good is a futile effort. Now we have two choices. We can try to be what we can never be or we can be what Jesus calls us to be — forgiven and free.