Don't Judge Me
There is a common misconception today that people should not judge one another. Not only is such a notion impossible to actually carry out, but it would also be foolish to try and carry it out. Just try to go through an entire day without making any judgments against another person. If you are a salesman, then you will not be able to sell anything, because doing so involves the judgment to know whether or not someone is interested in your product. If you are a manager, you must be able to judge the quality of work that your employees produce, and so on.
Even this brief consideration shows us that judgment is inevitable. The better question to ask is not “should I judge?” but “upon what basis should I judge?” Also, we could ask the questions: “to whom am I ultimately accountable?” or “who is my ultimate judge?” To this last question, Paul turns in I Corinthians 4.
The Corinthians were judging Paul on the basis of his speaking ability – whether he measured up to their Greek/Roman idea of a good orator. But Paul will not allow himself to be judged on that basis. He says that they are judging by the wrong standard. Instead, they should be judging whether or not Paul is faithful to the message he proclaims and if he is faithfully following through with his responsibilities before God (I Cor 4:2). Paul is not necessarily suggesting that they should not judge at all, but that any judgment should be made only on the basis that God prescribes. This basis is “faithfulness”.
Paul goes to explain that he does not care about the Corinthians’ erroneous judgments about his speech patterns, but only cares about the person to whom he is ultimately responsible: God. He says: “It is the Lord that judges me” (I Cor 4:4). The apostle then warns the Corinthians to stop judging by the wrong basis and before they have all the evidence. He tells them that God is the ultimate judge and He does not judge us by the same transient standards we often use to judge other people. Also, God sees everything, including our hidden aspects, so nothing will be hidden from him.
Paul’s point in all of this is to say that Christians do not need to worry what others think of them, if they know that God is pleased with them. If God is the ultimate judge, and He has declared us to be a part of His family, and we know we are acting according to His Word (the Bible), then we can withstand any judgment by mankind.