Have you ever applied for a position only to be told it has been filled? Scripture warns us there is a position we often try to assume that has already been filled—that of judge.
“God alone, who gave the law, is the Judge.” (James 4:12)
And yet, we still try to fill that seat, assessing others based on our own flawed view. Scripture is very clear that God doesn’t take too kindly to others trying usurp his office, warning us, “Do not judge others, so that God will not judge you, for God will judge you in the same way you judge others, and he will apply to you the same rules you apply to others. (Matthew 7:1-2)
Do I really want that—do I want God judging me in the same swift, harsh manner that I judge others? I think not! So many times I jump to conclusions and judge without thinking things through, without knowing the whole story, without any more than circumstantial evidence. Consider this scenario:
One winter evening, a woman was driving to a meeting. About 30 minutes into her trip, her car engine cut out on her. She checked the fuel gauge—she wasn’t out of gas, but something was definitely wrong. Thankfully, there was a quick mart at the intersection ahead and she prayed the car into the parking lot.
Unfortunately, the little store was closed and she was in a dead zone for her cellphone carrier. However, there was a tavern across the road so she cautiously crossed the highway in her high-heeled shoes and went inside to call her husband. As she exited the tavern, her heel slipped into a crack in the sidewalk. With arms flailing, she pitched forward, and went down on her hands and knees.
Just as this mishap toke place, a couple from her church stopped at the traffic signal. The movement at the entrance to the tavern drew their attention. Looking over, they gasped in recognition.
What will they most likely assume about the stranded woman? Yes, the couple would be in error, but wouldn’t we be just as quick to judge wrongly?
According to Scripture we are overstepping our bounds when we judge. After all, we aren’t perfect. By God’s holy standards, everyone has sinned and fallen short of God’s glory. (Romans 6:23)
So then, when we are tempted to judge what should we to do instead?
First, we should look at ourselves. Matthew 7: 3-5 talks about taking the logs out of our own eyes while 2 Corinthians 13:5 urges us to examine ourselves.
Second, trust God. Don’t worry—He sees and He knows. God has set a time for judgement (Psalm 75:2), and He will be the one to judge—and quite fairly, I might add. (Hebrews 10:30b)
Third, show mercy. “God will not show mercy when he judges the person who has not been merciful; but mercy triumphs over judgment.” (James 2:13) We all hope for mercy when we fail and falter. We can extend that same mercy to those whose behavior or words may not be what we expect.
No judges are needed. That position has already been filled.
©2016 Pamela D. Williams