I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. 1 Corinthians 4: 3 – 4
How much time we all spend worrying about what others think of us! And usually it’s about things that we know are not all that important, such as how we look, how we dress, how many nice things we have, etc, etc. How tiring and unnecessary that can become!
And why do we give the opinions of these “others” so much power and significance over us? If we look closely at their lives, we may find theirs are no more perfect than our own. If only we could be more concerned with the answers to such questions as these: “Do my family and friends know how much I love and cherish them?”, and of even more value, “Am I a person who reflects God’s love in my life to others?”
This passage from 1 Corinthians is an interesting one as it expresses 3 different types of judgment courts we all face: the court of our peers and others around us, the one in which we judge ourselves, and the court of judgment by God.
Paul begins by saying that he doesn’t give much weight to others’ opinions, but notice he didn’t say “I don’t care at all what others may think.” We all want to make good impressions and be well thought of, but it should never be a major focus in our lives. Hopefully, we all eventually figure out that no one can truly know our thoughts, our motives, and what lies deep within our hearts. All they can know is what our outward appearance and actions show. Only God can see deep within, and what He sees matters most of all.
The same is true of our judgments of others. We can’t begin to judge another person until we have walked in their shoes or have all the facts about their lives. When Scripture tells us we can’t know what is in our own hearts, we certainly can’t begin to discern what’s in the heart of another. As this verse reminds us – when it comes to judging others and evaluating their motives, we need to leave that to God.
Secondly, Paul states that he does not and cannot even judge himself. He is not discounting the fact that we all need to examine ourselves closely at times and look to our conscience to monitor and guide our thoughts, actions, and motives. But even it can be fallible. Sometimes we are simply poor judges of ourselves, for rarely are we totally honest and objective about what we see deep down inside.
It is only God who can bring to light what is hidden in the darkness of our souls and expose the motives of our hearts. He is the only One who can accurately and consistently judge us with perfect objectivity. He is the only lawmaker and judge whose knowledge of the facts is complete. And if we have lived our lives for Him, in a way that has been consistent with His truths, we can rest assured that each of us will receive His approval at the appropriate time.
How much more satisfying will His praise be than that of man! And what comfort it brings to know that on that day, all of us who have been wrongly judged by others will be vindicated and rewarded by God Himself. How thankful we can be that our saving grace is not based on the judgment of others, what we feel in our hearts, or what our conscience tells us about ourselves. “It is the Lord who judges us.”
Dear Lord, thank you that we will not be judged by our own hearts or by the opinions of others, but that you are the only Judge who truly matters. We are so grateful for your love and saving grace. We give you all honor, praise and glory. Amen