(1 Corinthians 4:1-5)
One of the most dangerous things we can do in Christ is to judge one another. And as this scripture shows us, we should not even judge ourselves.
Why is it that judgement is such a problem? It is because with judgement comes pride and condemnation.
And in the same way when we judge ourselves we are making assumptions about who we are and where we stand in Christ that may be false. Again this can come back to pride and self-condemnation.
A person who judges another person does so from a position they believe is superior. They are in essence saying that the person they are judging is less than themselves or not as good as they are, and this comes from pride.
A proud person thinks they are better than others and believes that their own way is the right way, which is arrogance.
We know that the ways of God and the ways of man are not alike as God has made this plain throughout the bible. His ways are to do right and to be merciful, just, compassionate, holy and righteous. But the ways of a man lead to sin through uncontrolled emotion, passions, lusts and evil desires.
And one of the worst of man's desires is pride for this is devilish. Satan fell from God's grace because of pride and man will likewise fall from God's grace through pride.
And to judge another person when we are imperfect and open to failure is pride.
The True Judge
In all truth we do not have the right to judge one another because judgment belongs to God.
God the Father is the supreme ruler and we know that Jesus Christ has been given all judgment and the right to judge mankind as the scripture shows us in John 5:22.
The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, – (John 5:22)
So when we judge one another what we are doing is standing in the place of Jesus Christ. We are effectively taking the rightful place and work of Christ onto ourselves to wield His power, authority and judgment, but without the right to do so. We basically usurp the position of Jesus Christ and put ourselves first and in His place.
Can you see how dangerous that is? Is not that exactly what Satan attempted to do when through his pride he sought to usurp the power of God and set himself up in God's place?
Thus we must not judge another. God is working in and on everyone of His people as they walk the journey of Christianity to come into His kingdom. But His people are not all at the same place in the journey. Some are stronger than other, some have learned more, some are able to better control their passions through the working of the Holy Spirit.
It may well be that the Holy Spirit is working with a person on an unseen flaw that is of much greater importance to control than on something we might see and think is a fault. For example, a person may have an addiction to drugs, alcohol, gambling or something else, which the Lord will need to help them overcome, but if the root cause of these addictions is for example, low self-esteem, fear, bitterness or some other thing which we cannot see, then it makes sense to resolve the root cause so the addictive symptom can be permanently healed.
What is important to God and the Holy Spirit to rectify in any individual may not be the same thing as we might think is important. It is the work of the Holy Spirit to bring each of us to perfection in the image of Jesus Christ and we do not have the right to judge that other person because of faults we may perceive. When we do we are judging the Holy Spirit and saying His work is not good enough. And that is a serious mistake on our part.
And then we come to ourselves for it is just as wrong to self-judge. Just as we should not judge others who are the servants of the Lord, so too we should not judge, and more significantly, we should not condemn ourselves.
Look at the words Paul uses in this scripture today.
3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. 4 For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me. 5 Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God. – (1 Corinthians 4:3-5)
Paul did not care that he was judged by any human court and in fact he stated that he did not even judge himself.
The reason why is that Paul knew the only one to whom he was accountable was Jesus Christ, and He would be Paul's judge.
And it is the same for us. We are accountable to Jesus Christ too and just as it is presumptuous to judge others, so too we must not judge ourselves. And there are many ways that we might judge ourselves without even realizing it.
One of the things that the Lord came to do was to set us free from sin when we come to Him. And we receive His righteousness by faith through God's grace in the process of being baptized into the death of Jesus Christ.
So when we are set free from sin if we then say we are sinners and call ourselves sinners what are we really doing? In effect we are saying that the blood of Jesus Christ was not a good enough sacrifice to remove our sins. We are also saying that the work of God and the work of the Holy Spirit are not good enough to free us from sin. And by this self condemnation we are saying God is not good enough because we are rejecting His word and rejecting His grace by which we have been set free from sin and made righteous.
That is why we must not judge ourselves because when we do we judge God. When we judge ourselves we judge God by saying He is not good enough and His grace is not sufficient to do all that He has said He would do through faith in Jesus Christ.
And Satan knows these things too so he will use our fears, insecurities and human weaknesses against us to well up within us to self-condemn. Be aware because the desires of the devil are to tear us down and destroy us by taking us out of the hand of God, and what better way than to have us self-condemn and by it to judge God!
So like Paul, do not judge others and do not judge yourself. Yes, we should recognise when we make mistakes and fall down, but seek God's mercy and compassion through repentance. Recognition of a personal failure and repentance is not the same as judgement because repentance is based upon humility and being humble under the hand of God, whereas judgement is based upon pride and a rejection of God by standing in His place as judge.
Do not judge and do not fall prey to the traps of the devil who will lead you into judgement. Instead, look to Jesus Christ and walk in accordance with His ways and leave judgment to Him where it rightfully belongs.
(Image sourced from freeimages.com provided by Jason Morrison)
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