Friday, November 18

Judging by God's Standards

Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say you to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye. --Matthew 7:1-5

Awhile back my friend Liz and I met at the local Starbucks for what I like to call "green straw therapy." We talked about how frustrating it can be at times to be in a Christian in a secular work environment. Liz said that something that day that I found to hold much wisdom and truth. Her dad had once told her that Christians should not be too appalled by certain attitudes and actions of non-Christians; after all, they see nothing inappropriate about how they live.

As that though sank in, I finally understood that I had been operating under the assumption that everyone else should live according to my way of thinking. In the back of my mind, I had been silently (and not so silently!) judging and condemning other people based on my own personal value system. That's not my job. Without realizing it, I had been misinterpreting and misapplying the first several verses of Matthew 7.

For a Christian to judge a non-Christian by holding that person up to a standard of morality is unfair. It would be as if an American who committed a crime in the U.S. were made to stand trial in a foreign nation and judged by that nation's legal system. To any reasonable person, this makes no logical sense. Why be held accountable to rules that don't govern the place where we don't live?

In the same way, we are judged by the law of the land of our citizenship. As Christians, our citizenship is in heaven. For everyone else, their current citizenship is here on planet earth. God will judge all of us one day. Because the earth is the Lord and everything in it, the world and all who live in it will be asked to give an account. Only God has the authority to judge people's hearts.


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