"For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." Genesis 3:5
I was in the car the other day listening to a sermon when the pastor started to talk about the word "accuser." I wondered, what does that word mean? When you look up the greek word for accuser in the New Testament, it's kategor, which is where we get the word "categorize" from. When we categorize things, we make a judgement based on our own lenses and thought patterns, and while this isn't inherently evil, when done outside of God's voice, it can be devastating. When we categorize something we are making our own judgement on what that thing/person/circumstance is. It's good, it's bad, it's complicated--they're a good teacher, they're a bad leader, they're _____ (fill in the blank). Whatever we categorize something, the reality is, we are doing it all on our own, without God's perspective. And that's the curse of the Garden. As a pastor at my church said, "we gain the knowledge of good without the power to do it, and we gain the knowledge of evil without the ability to avoid it." The only thing we're able to do is judge, and poorly. Judgement in Matthew 7 comes from a related greek word--krino, which means to separate. Much like the word kategor, it is ultimately about categorizing life into the good and evil. Judgement, at it's core, is a counterfeit of grief. Judgement focuses on categorizing things into good and bad, while grieving focuses on acknowledging the reality of a situation and then reconciling it with God. Judgment cuts God out of the process, grief invites Him in. Judgement is a way to protect ourselves because if we can put it in a box, if we can understand it and file it away, we won't have to deal with the reality of the pain of the brokenness we are seeing. Our souls were made for Eden, but we are daily inundated with a world full of things that we can categorize as evil.
We can also categorize and compartmentalize our own lives, filing the parts we don't like neatly away, judging what's good, what's bad, what's worthy, and what needs to be hidden away. But anytime we have parts of our lives that are categorized or compartmentalized, one part of us begins to stand in judgment against the other, giving place to the accuser, and causing what the Bible calls "double mindedness." And a house divided cannot stand. The ability to categorize and make judgments was never supposed to be ours in the first place. When a decision had to be made, we were meant to walk in communion with God, asking and following His lead.
Grief is the answer to judgment. Grief lays down the right to categorize and separate, and instead focuses on the brokenness and how it's affected us. Jesus wasn't afraid of emotions.He wept over Lazarus, grieved in the Garden of Gesthemane, and mourned over the loss of the Jewish people. God promises us that He will turn our mourning into dancing, and in John 16:20 Jesus acknowledges that grief has a place in the believers life. David grieved for years at a time as he ran from Saul. Over 60% of the Psalms are dedicated to grief and loss in some way, an outlet for David to reconcile the brokenness he's seen. If the Bible teaches us anything, it's that grief is the natural reaction to a broken world, and when we invite Him into it, He can turn it into joy. Jesus is interested in taking down the silos around our judgments, categories, and compartments to bring about truewholeheartedness. Will you let him?