Two couples went to dinner. One woman, knowing her husband hated sushi, suggested they get sushi, justifying herself by thinking it was no crime to sometimes do something for herself. Her husband, hating sushi, happily agreed to go along, considering the outcome for his wife to be his desire. The other husband considered only his excitement in trying something new. His wife, the last to opine, agreed with everyone else. She also hated sushi, but valued the avoidance of conflict above all other things.
Each of these people committed to the same action, but each did so for very different reasons. Only one acted righteously; the other three sinned in three distinct ways of varying wickedness.
Jesus said we must judge righteous judgment. Instead, we tend to project onto others our own motivations. We assume that they do what they do for the reasons we would do the same. Because most people are wicked, this has the following results:
-For the wicked, this means they assume others are wicked. While they are mostly correct, they will miss the opportunity to recognize and learn from people who are more righteous than them.
-For the righteous, this means they assume others are righteous. They will gain the benefit of learning from those very few who are more righteous than they are, but in the meantime they will be consistently and gruesomely betrayed by degrees of evil of which they were not previously aware.
It is better to judge righteous judgment. Withhold judgment until you have sufficient evidence to make it, and always be willing to change your mind in the face of new evidence.
Recall that Jesus remained hidden by the Father for 30 years. Not even his relatives had any clue as to who he was and what power he had. Yet, his knowledge had come to him consistently line upon line for all those years. Even after his public ministry began, far too many were unwilling to adjust their preconceived notions about him. Do not make similar mistakes.
The fire is needed to distinguish between good and bad, and good and better. This is as true with people as it is with beliefs. Extraordinary people remain unperceived until extraordinary circumstances occur. As the fire comes, pay close attention to what is manifests. Toss away what is insufficient to endure, and embrace what can withstand the fire.