The following article is an opinion piece by the author and represents the views of only the author and not necessarily those of AllOnGeorgia.
Only God Can Judge Me
We hear it all the time. Usually by someone who’s doing something they know they shouldn’t be doing. Something everyone around them knows they shouldn’t be doing. But instead of taking responsibility for their actions, instead of doing the right thing, they use what they feel like is a situational fire escape. “You can’t judge me. Only God can judge me!” First of all, if we truly believe that, it should be the scariest statement ever uttered by human tongue. Second, running around saying “Only God can judge me” doesn’t actually get you off the hook for your own transgressions anyway.
Normally, this line of thinking is based on Matthew 7:1 which says, “Judge not, that ye be not judged.” This scenario is a perfect example of why it’s important to KEEP READING when studying the Bible. The next five verses explain to us that if we do judge, we will be held to the same standard by which we judge others, and that we should be careful to manage our own sins if we plan to reprimand others for theirs. The example the Bible gives is trying to take the spec out of your brother’s eye, while there’s a plank in your own. Meaning that many times, we try to call someone out for their wrong doing, when we have sin of our own that we’re not dealing with. How can we help someone deal with their sin, when we refuse to deal with our own? We can’t! It would be an insult for us to try.
This is not to say that we should just let sin slide. It is not a sin to call a thief, a thief. Just make sure that you are not a thief yourself. This especially holds true to fellow believers, which is what Jesus was talking about in the scripture we’re discussing. After all, we can’t hold non-believers to the same standard by which we live. Asking them to uphold biblical principles is a bit of a stretch considering they don’t believe that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God. The Bible tells us as much in 1 Corinthians 1:18.
Another scenario that we point to is found in John 8. The scribes and Pharisees brought a woman to Jesus who had been caught in the act of adultery. After a lot of self righteous rambling by the Pharisees, Jesus told them that whoever was without sin should cast the first stone. Of course, none of them were without sin, so they dropped their stones, post haste. This didn’t change the fact that the woman was an adulterer. Jesus just didn’t let the Pharisees have their way because he knew their motives were not pure, and that it was more about power, than doing the right thing. Same as with many of us. Sunday school prayer requests can turn into gossip circles. Or we use scripture to condemn someone who disagrees with us, not because it’s the right thing to do, but because we want to be “right.” God does not honor that, and we should not find ourselves doing it.
There are two sides to any judgement. The accuser, and the accused. If we’re going to be the accuser, it better be for the right reasons, and we had better have our own house in order. Otherwise, we’ll be judged by the same measure by which we have judged. As far as the accused goes, our goal should be to live a life above reproach. To not put ourselves in a position to be accused. We should do our best to live like Jesus every day. To show love, even to those who do not reciprocate, and to do our best to bring glory and honor to God in everything that we do. If we live by that standard, we won’t have to twist scripture to try and cover our tracks. The grace and mercy of God will be all the of the covering that we need.
Danny Burnham Religion Contributor