"Only God can judge me!" That is a familiar saying that we've all heard at some point in time or another. Or maybe we were the ones saying it! Well, what if I told you that God wasn't the only one who could judge you? Would that flip your world upside down? You bet! That's right! God is not the only one who has the ability to judge someone! He is the last and final judge of us all but He has bestowed some authority upon us, His Children and Kingdom Citizens, to be able to judge one another. Let me explain what I mean.
Let us first take a look at what the word judge actually means; it isn't just that guy or gal that sits behind the desk wearing a robe all day long! The word judge means: to form an opinion or conclusion about. When you are judging someone, you are forming an opinion or conclusion about someone or something. Doesn't sound too bad does it? Well no, but there are many who do take offense to that. You see, as humans we have something that sets us apart from our fellow four-legged friends that walks the Earth with us. We all have a brain, which gives us the power of logic and common sense. As adults, we do not typically like when someone challenges our judgment of logic and common sense. Well then, how are we as Kingdom Citizens and believers in Jesus Christ supposed to "judge" our fellow brothers and sisters in the faith?
Let's take a look at Matthew 7:1-5. Here Jesus is speaking and He says, "Judge not less ye be judged." Another version reads as, Judge not that ye be not judged. The next verse says, "For with what judgement ye judge, ye shall be judged; and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again." Whoa! That is a lot to take in! Let's break this down. If you read these scriptures closely, you will see that Jesus isn't telling us not to judge at all, but rather He is saying that if you do judge, be prepared to be judged right back and with the same measure! Now, this isn't a means of going around telling everyone around you your opinion of what they're doing and whether or not their life meets your standards. No, not at all! What Jesus means is that if you are going to hold someone to a standard, you yourself better be already holding yourself to that very same standard! Don't believe me? Let's read a little further.
Verses 3-4 says, (I will paraphrase here) how can you notice the mote or splinter in your brother's eye but cannot notice the beam or log that is in your own eye? How can you try to remove your brother's splinter without removing the log out of your own? How can you even see the splinter in their eye when you have a log in yours?! Jesus calls these people hypocrites! You must first remove the log/beam out of your own eye before you can help to remove your brother's splinter. With that being said, we as Kingdom Citizens and brothers and sisters in Christ, are supposed to hold one another accountable! Not in a tennis match, slapping one another back and forth and keeping score! But rather, when you see your sister or brother slipping or struggling in the faith, politely remind them that as Kingdom Citizens, we are held to a higher standard. We are to be a light to the world, an example to the lost. We are in this world but not of this world. How can we be different, set apart or sanctified from the world if our lives exhibits the same behavior as the world?
Notice I said when we see our brothers and sisters in Christ slipping, that we are to judge them to the standard that Christ has laid and set before us. Does that mean that we aren't supposed to judge the world. Yes and No. I believe that we are to set an example with our lives before those who are not of the faith. We are not supposed to go around bullying them into accepting Christ. That is NOT how Jesus did it at all. If you study his interactions with those who were not of the faith or not living up to the standard, he was patient and kind, allowing his life to speak for Him. When they noticed the difference, they would inquire in someway and then he would share His standards that caused Him to be so different from them. Like the woman at the well ( John 4 ), she noticed a difference in Jesus right away when He, being a Jew, asked her, a Samaritan for a drink. From that interaction with her, Jesus was able to minister to her and share the same standards or judgments that He lived by that made Him so different. Let your light so shine for all to see so that you will be able to have a "woman at the well" interaction with the unsaved. Christ is the final judge of us all but remember, we are "a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's special possession, that ye may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness, into His wonderful light!" (1 Pet. 2:9) So judge only if you are able to be judged right back! The world believe it or not is looking for something different so live on and let your light shine!
Shalam & Blessings