Christ, The One Judge
“Every generous act and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights.” – James 1:17
Every good thing that I have comes from God the Father. He has blessed me with life and life eternal, and I am forever indebted to the Lord. I know from where I came; I know where I am, and; I know where I’m going. I also know who brought me from where I came, who’s keeping me where I am, and who’s taking me where I’m going. It’s God. That’s why I tell others about Him – so they won’t have to experience some of the things that I have, so that they can live in reconciliation with God, as I do, and so that they, too, can go to heaven.
It’s not that I think of myself as better than anyone. The Bible instructs us that we should “do nothing out of rivalry or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than” ourselves (Philippians 2:3). The passage goes on to say that we should look out for the best interests of others. Telling someone how their soul can be saved from eternal death is doing just that. Since God has saved me from the pit of death, I have a duty to tell others. So do all Christians.
Nobody really likes to be wrong or to be told they are wrong. So sometimes people get upset when their unkind, unloving, and inappropriate behavior is rebuked. That’s understandable, to an extent. But at some point, the destructive behavior has to stop. It’s not for me to judge others because there is only One righteous judge, and that is Lord (2 Timothy 4:8, Acts 10:42). The words that Christ has spoken are the words that will judge us all. So what I speak are His words and not my own.
I’m reminded of a character on the TV show Martin. Brother Man from the 5th Floor was always barging in to Martin’s home uninvited. He would climb into his home through the terrace window or manage his way in through the front door, go into Martin’s fridge and make a sandwich, and then sit on his couch and eat or walk back out the way he entered. When Martin would tell him he couldn’t come into his apartment like that and mess with his personal belongings, he’d get bothered by it or it would fall on deaf ears. Martin had every right to tell Brother Man that he was wrong for invading his personal space.
Regardless of the comic relief that it brought, everyone would agree that Brother Man had no right to get angry when told to stop being disrespectful, because he was in no way entitled to Martin’s home or anything of his that didn’t belong to him. And Martin had every right to tell him to stop violating him. The same is true for us, who are not characters in TV land but real people with real thoughts, real feelings, and real lives – human beings. An abuser has no right to get angry and lash out at the one who is being abused because they tell them to stop mistreating them and that it is wrong to continue to do so.
Anybody can hurl insults at or about another person. It doesn’t take much thought or intelligence to do that. What takes effort is building up someone. Nobody is better than the next person. All have sinned (Romans 3:23). So no one should be “inflated with pride in favor of one person over another. For who makes you so superior? What do you have that you didn’t receive” (1 Corinthians 4:6-7)? People can be quick to judge. It’s easy to look from the outside in and find flaws in other people. It’s harder to look on the inside and deal with your own flaws and issues.
The person who is frugal may look at someone spending money to eat out during the week and call them wasteful. Yet, they may not understand that that person’s water pipes are poisoned with lead, so they have to eat outside the home temporarily. Or the person who gets up from their desk periodically to take a walk may be criticized without someone knowing that they have to move their legs often or they will hurt and swell. We don’t know what other people have been through or are going through, so it’s not for us to judge one another but to be introspective and figure out how to be a better individual, minding your own business (1 Thessalonians 4:11).
“Anyone of you who judges is without excuse. For when you judge one another, you condemn yourself, since you the judge, do the same things. We know that God’s judgment on those who do such things is based on the truth. Do you really think – anyone of you who judges those who do such things yet do the same – that you will escape God’s judgment? Or do you despise the riches of His kindness, restraint, and patience, not recognizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance? But because of your hardness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath, when God’s righteous judgment is revealed. He will repay each one according to his works: eternal life to those who by patiently doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; but wrath and indignation to those who are self-seeking and disobey the truth, but are obeying unrighteousness” (Romans 2:1-8).
Nobody’s sin is bigger than the next person’s sin. If you’ve committed one sin, it’s just as if you’ve committed them all. And, again, we all have sinned. But God has extended His grace to us. He sent His One and Only Son, Jesus Christ, from heaven to earth in the form of a man to show mankind the way to live and the way to God the Father. Yet, people did not heed His words, became violently angry, and they killed Him by hanging Him on a tree. He was buried, and then He rose from the dead. The blood that He shed was for your sins and mine, so that we can have the forgiveness of all our wrongdoings against Him and against others. We can have access to that saving blood if we believe in Him (Matthew 28:18), confess that He is Lord (Romans 10:9), repent (meaning, stop doing what is wrong, Acts 17:30), be baptized for the forgiveness of our sins (Acts 2:38), and live a faithful life in His service (Revelation 2:10). Won’t you accept the perfect gift of Christ, the eternal Judge of us all?