Sitting in Judgement

How does the idea of being judged make you feel?  To feel that someone is weighing you up against their standards and norms?  I’m not very good at it.  It makes me feel immediately defensive and as if I have to justify myself and my actions – usually wrongly.

On the other hand, how good I am at sitting in judgement on other people… Imagining I know why they do what they do, where they are coming from, comparing their actions with ‘what I would do’ – because of course I know best.  How foolish I am.

Of course I do what I do mainly because I believe it to be the right thing.  It fits in with my understanding of the world and myself.  But does it fit in with Gods?  If I look at my actions through his eyes, might they seem different, less satisfactory, not sharing his ideals?

God is probably the one person entitled to sit in judgement on us.  The one who holds the big picture, who understands our motives, who sees people trying to do their best – and those trying to make everything fit their way.  Where would I fit in that picture?  How does my behavior weigh up?  I might think I will be vindicated and shown to be right all along.  I wonder…

Amos 5:18-24 (CEV)

When the Lord Judges

18 You look forward to the day
when the Lord comes to judge.
    But you are in for trouble!
It won’t be a time of sunshine;
    all will be darkness.
19 You will run from a lion,
    only to meet a bear.
You will escape to your house,
rest your hand on the wall,
    and be bitten by a snake.
20 The day when the Lord judges
will be dark, very dark,
    without a ray of light.

What the Lord Demands

21 I, the Lord, hate and despise
your religious celebrations
    and your times of worship.
22 I won’t accept your offerings
or animal sacrifices—
    not even your very best.
23 No more of your noisy songs!
I won’t listen
    when you play your harps.
24 But let justice and fairness
flow like a river
    that never runs dry.

We don’t like to think of God sitting in judgement.  We want him to be a nice God, always on our side.  Yet if God is God, he has a Grand Plan, a right and wrong way for things to be done.  Not because he is high and mighty, but because he truly knows what is best for us, loves us and cares for us; and longs for us to have the best.

So, God is not looking for us to say all the right things, but to actually do them; not to just put on a good front, but truly aim to live his ways; not to make a lot of noise, but to live those things out.  God looks, not at the show we put on, but the reality of our lives lived day by day.

They are the only criteria anyone should be judged by.  And the judging is not ours, but Gods.

Forgive me Lord,
the times I am quick to sit in judgement,
believing I know what is best,
or what is in the heart of another.
Forgive my arrogance,
my short-sightedness,
my focus on me.

Forgive me Lord,
when I have got things so wrong,
yet believed I was so right.
When I have missed the point,
not understood
or failed to ask.
When I have been so focussed
on what I thought,
that I have failed to hear your voice
or ignored it
and gone my own way.

Thank you
that you are a God of forgiveness,
of hope,
of renewal,
and of new possibilities.

I offer myself anew to you today.
Help me to hear your voice clearly
and respond to all you ask of me.

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