|Posted on February 6, 2021 at 11:25 AM|
When did we decide we were qualified to be both judge and jury on every single topic? Oh, we tell ourselves we’re not, but the reality is that, realize it or not, we make ourselves feel better by comparing our actions and beliefs with those around us. And no matter how hard we try and fight that embarrassing human trait, it sticks like glue.
I’m sure that’s why scripture has so thoroughly covered the topic. Matthew 7:1 clearly and simply says “judge not lest you be judged.” And everywhere Jesus taught, he warned against getting trapped by an attitude that made us focus more on someone elses’ bad thinking while ignoring our own. But in spite of the clarity of the words we seem to be increasingly intolerant of our fellow sojourners here on earth.
We can mask it however we want to. We really “prayed up and read-up” Christians may even call it truth, or standing up for biblical principles, but the reality is that we aren’t qualified to judge, measure or even criticize each other. We are only called to love.
Does that mean we can’t answer the question of whether something is sin? Of course not! But should we feel entitled to determine for someone else what their walk with God should look like? Of course not! We are unqualified bystanders when it comes to judging someone else.
And Scripture is very clear about who is qualified. Psalm 50:6 says Let the heavens declare His righteousness, for God Himself is Judge. And in Psalm 9:8 we’re told He shall judge the world in righteousness, and He shall administer judgements for the people in uprightness.
The truth is, because we can’t know someone’s motivations or relationship with God, and we will certainly never be completely righteous while here on earth, we aren’t equipped to decide anyone’s ultimate fate, or even their day to day walk. The Old Testament is full of passages that clearly tell us that only God is the judge of humankind. And the New Testament tells us He committed that authority over to His Son after the Resurrection (Matthew 28:18).
We must pull anger and condemnation from the equation when dealing with those around us. No matter what we think, that is way over our pay grade. Because when we view the world we must remember that God’s end goal has always been restoration not separation.
Self-preservation may require us to distance ourselves from those around us who are living in a way that is contrary to God’s plan or damaging to our own walk. But we should still strive, ultimately, for reconciliation. Unbelievers need to be shown who Christ is and be reconciled to Him, and believers need to mature in Christ and be reconciled to each other. That won’t happen if we simply walk away or respond with self-righteousness.
Don't misunderstand -- I'm not saying that sin isn't sin. Or worse, that there is no sin. I’m not even saying what someone else is thinking or doing might not be wrong. But we can’t beat or berate someone into right thinking. They must be led, with love and Holy Spirit discernment, into recognizing the areas of their life that God may need to clean up.
If we see someone stumbling and we believe that what they are doing is completely contrary to what God wants, we can pray for them, reach a hand out, or even council them if they ask for it. And if it’s affecting us we should certainly approach them with it. But we better do all of that with the humble spirit that acknowledges our own weaknesses. And we need to avoid that "plank" in our own eye. It's easy to tell ourselves that we are acting in "righteous" indignation, when really there's very little about us that is righteous at all.
Ultimately each of us will work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. But that will happen when we're faced with God, not with each other. Here on earth our only task is to bring others into fellowship with God, and to model the love and humbleness that Jesus taught.
Before God can truly heal our land – and us - we need to begin seeking His heart when dealing with one another, so we are educating, not annihilating.
Be blessed, my friend. God is on the throne!