I often catch myself judging others; it comes so easily, so naturally to criticize. Luke 6:37 reminds me that I must never criticize or condemn, or it will all come back on me and that I am to go easy on others so that they will do the same to me.
I was again struck by Rahab’s story in Joshua 2. Here was a prostitute and Innkeeper living on the edge of society, very close to being rejected by the community she lived in. When she heard that Jericho was to be invaded she feared concerning her and her family’s future. She must have felt very vulnerable living in the city wall – the first line of defense. When the two Israeli spies arrived at her Inn, she made the right decision by hiding them from the police, not even thinking of the danger she was putting herself in. In fact, she sensed that the Israelites relied on a God worth trusting. Here was a woman that rose above her situation through her trust in God, and above all, she did not let her fear affect her faith in God’s ability to deliver and to save her and her family.
And yet, how do we remember her? We remember her because of her moral failure, but God remembers her because of her faith!
How easy it is to judge, yes, especially those who have failed morally. Matthew 5:28 says that anyone who even looks at a woman with lust in their eyes has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If this is the case, then surely I am guilty of adultery and by insinuation prostitution? How dare I then judge others without first judging myself?
I can’t do anything for God to entice Him to love me more. God loves me regardless of how well (or bad) I am performing. Why is it so difficult to understand that I am clothed in His righteousness and that my accomplishments (or failures) have no bearing on His love for me? Who am I then to judge thinking that I have a part in my own righteousness? Should I not forget about my own righteousness and only cling to God’s promises…in faith? Spurgeon says that to live by faith is a far surer and happier thing than to live by feelings or by works.
Oswald Chambers says that the Bible characters stumbled over their strong points, never their weak ones, and that we need to beware of the undercurrent, we need to stay alert, and we need to keep our memories sharp before God and be more concerned about our strengths than our weaknesses because unguarded strengths are double weaknesses.
What do I have that I have not received? Nothing.
Who am I (yes, even the colour of my skin) that the Lord has not allowed? Nothing.
Not because of your own power or virtue but because I, the Lord your God, have glorified you. (Isaiah 55:5b)
Let me therefore not judge others but rather be concerned about my own life, because there, but for the grace of God, go I.