Are You a Judge?

by Jan Silvious

When you hear the words, "Leave it to God, who judges righteously," what comes to your mind?

When I hear those words, I think of security—the security of knowing that nothing escapes God's attention and that He is a fair Judge, who will right every wrong.

When I am wronged, however, I forget how secure I am in God's ability to judge. His judgment never seems swift enough or severe enough. Then I am tempted to take on the job of judge and jury. I want immediately to judge the perpetrator and execute a sentence.

The Apostle Peter acted as judge and jury the night of Jesus' arrest. "Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest's servant, cutting off his right ear" (John 18:10). Seems only natural. The soldiers and officials had come to take away Peter's friend, his teacher, his Lord. Peter knew Jesus was innocent, and he struck out only in defense.

But what was Jesus' response? "No more of this," He said (Luke 22:51). And immediately He touched the man, healing his ear.

If you had been Peter that night, what would you have done? Knowing how quick I am to become the judge and jury, I'm afraid Jesus would have had to do more than heal the man's ear—He would have had to raise him from the dead! That's how quickly I jump to a conclusion about another's sin. In the natural realm, the judgment seems right, but in the spiritual realm, that judgment rarely holds water.

Is there someone in your life whom you have already judged? Is there someone whom you have already punished, rejected, and condemned for his or her sin? If so, you need to give up acting as judge and jury and trust that God will judge that sin righteously.

Thomas Kempis wrote these words many years ago: "How rarely we weigh our neighbor in the same balance in which we weigh ourselves." In other words, if we want the person who has wounded us to be judged righteously by a holy God, then we should be willing to be judged by the same standard.

If we were subjecting our own behavior to the same scrutiny that we give the behavior of others, we would not be so quick to judge. As Matthew 7:1 says, "Do not judge, or you, too, will be judged."

The Bible says in Romans 2:1 that we are without excuse when we pass judgment, because when we pass judgment on others we are condemning ourselves. Tough words, but true. Let them be a reminder to you when you are tempted to act as judge and jury.

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