My conscience is clear, but that doesn’t prove I’m right. It is the Lord himself who will examine me and decide. So don’t make judgments about anyone ahead of time–before the Lord returns. For he will bring our darkest secrets to light and will reveal our private motives. Then God will give to each one whatever praise is due. … For what gives you the right to make such a judgment? What do you have that God hasn’t given you? And if everything you have is from God, why boast as though it were not a gift? … We appeal gently when evil things are said about us. Yet we are treated like the world’s garbage, like everybody’s trash, right up to the present moment. —For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.
For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. —Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”—When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.
God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”
My soul makes its boast in the LORD; let the humble hear and be glad.
I Cor. 4:4-5, 7, 13 NLT; Rom 12:3 ESV; Rev 3:17-19 ESV; Mt. 9:13 ESV; Mt.9:36 ESV; I Cor. 1:28-31 ESV; Ps. 34:2 ESV
Oh my, is it ever easy to think negatively and critically of others. I can get slinging mud in my mind without even knowing the other person–just based on a momentary glance, or a comment overheard, or some other flimsy notion of my superiority (or inferiority!). It’s all based on appearances and it’s not only ridiculous but deplorable.
What do you have that God hasn’t given you? is still ringing in my ears after a moment of being brought up short this week by the Spirit and having to do a little review of how out of line my own thoughts were as compared to Christ’s. He exuded compassion, even to those He had to rebuke severely (‘white-washed sepulchres’!). His intent was merciful–to save them from themselves and their blindness to their own condition. I am humbled and grateful at this evidence of His presence and love–this Spirit at work to conform me to the image of Jesus, this foretaste of future glory!
Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. I Jn.3:2 ESV
P.S. I was helped this week by some considerations by C.S.Lewis in his book Mere Christianity. He suggests some factors we may not have thought of when we presume to condemn others for their behavior. I’ve posted the quote over here, at my quote collection blog: https://dictationbydawn.wordpress.com
I’d love to hear your thoughts. Is judgmentalism just part of the human condition? How have you wrestled with this tendency?