July 4, 2011

Is Every Day Judgment Day?

Well, for some, it may be.


judg·ment
noun
1.  an act or instance of judging.
2.  the ability to judge, make a decision, or form an opinion objectively, authoritatively, and wisely, especially in matters affecting action; good sense; discretion: a man of sound judgment.

I have come to the conclusion that everyone, at some point, considers themselves a judge - myself included.  We all make daily judgments on situations, decisions and on the actions of others.  We absolutely must determine, especially if we are believers in the Most High G-d, if what is presented to us either by others, the media or from our own minds is good and right.  However, a problem arises when we make judgments that are harsh or unfair that cause hurt to others due to our self-righteousness.  We put ourselves in the place of the Almighty, passing judgment as if we were appointed to do so...making ourselves feel superior in the process.  Things only become more entangled and sinful when we then execute sentencing upon the judged with condemnation and punishment.

But, perhaps we are appointed to judge others.  In the definition above, it is the second one that captured my attention, as it is true that to judge is to be objective and wise.  If we are appointed in the place of HaShem as judges of His people, are we judging with objectivity and wisdom?  Are we careful, trembling even, to be acting in the stead of the Beneficent One who humbles the haughty and raises the lowly?

Let's take a few moments to consider a picture of judgment from Scripture:

JUSTICE:  The same Torah and standard of judgment will apply to both you and the foreigner living with you.' (Numbers 15:16)

RIGHTEOUSNESS:  You are to appoint judges and officers for all your gates [in the cities] ADONAI your God is giving you, tribe by tribe; and they are to judge the people with righteous judgment. (Deut. 16:18)

CONSEQUENCE:  Whoever refuses to obey the law of your God and the law of the king, let judgment be executed on him swiftly, whether it be death, banishment, confiscation of goods or imprisonment." (Ezra 7:6)

SEEKING:  Teach me good judgment and knowledge, because I trust in your mitzvot. (Ps 119:6)

UNRIGHTEOUS JUDGES:  They mouth words, swearing falsely, making treaties. Thus judgment spreads like poisonous weeds in the furrows of a field. (Hosea 10:4)

SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS:  Who are you to pass judgment on someone else's servant? It is before his own master that he will stand or fall; and the fact is that he will stand, because the Lord is able to make him stand. (Rom 14:4)

You then, why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For all of us will stand before God's judgment seat; (Rom 14:10)

CHARACTER:  So let each of you scrutinize his own actions. Then if you do find something to boast about, at least the boasting will be based on what you have actually done and not merely on a judgment that you are better than someone else; (Gal 6:4)

TRUTH:  For judgment will be without mercy toward one who doesn't show mercy; but mercy wins out over judgment. (James 2:13)

HOLY AND JUST:  Next I saw heaven opened, and there before me was a white horse. Sitting on it was the one called Faithful and True, and it is in righteousness that he passes judgment and goes to battle. (Rev 19:11)

To me it is clear that we are to be most careful about judging those around us. We are to submit to those who are appointed judges and further, it would be prudent to pray for their ability to judge righteously and fairly.  It is also evident that our LORD is the only true and right judge and He will judge all of us on every word, thought and action.  That alone should stop everyone in their tracks and forever banish every scrap of self-righteousness from our being.  We will all stand before The Judge with fear and trembling, of this I have no doubt.  

At times, it is not difficult to see when those close to us have stepped over the line and have committed sin.  Ultimately, it is the LORD who is responsible for bringing those ones back into line, if they are His.  I completely trust Him to do just that.  I am honored if I am chosen to come alongside another soul and help bear the burden of pain or offer a helping hand, and I pray for those that are chosen to have that honor when it is not me.  And while He has put leaders in place over flocks for protection and teaching, it is absolutely essential that they walk so close to Him that they can see truth and execute justice swiftly within the flock, most especially if there is sin or danger within.  I pray for leaders in this area, as one misstep can lead to much destruction, as we all have been witness, I'm sure.  Even leaders, perhaps more so than others, can easily slip into self-righteousness and apathy toward the hurting, the needy, the lost.  Our LORD is compassionate as well as just, and we all must do our best to emulate Him - most of all leaders.
Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, since you know that we will be judged more severely. (James 3:1)
Yes, for some every day is judgment day.  However, I pray that we all carefully consider how every soul is hand-crafted by the Creator Himself and that His sovereign will and purposes will come about regardless of our judgments and condemnations.  I beg the Ruach to remind and guide all of us to be grateful for what we have been given, and that we honor those in our lives - our friends, family and community are truly gifts from above.  May we always strive to build up with kindness, gentleness and love rather than tear down with judgment and criticism.

I, for one, think I'll leave Judgment Day to the LORD.

May the Holy One hear my prayer and judge me and all those I love with His favor.  
Amein.

1 comment:

Ari C'rona said...

Well put, my friend - I pray diligently to avoid that horrible bondage of self righteousness. I know from sad experience how enslaving it can be. There is no way one can truly serve the Master or love others in that state.

There is only one way out - through His abundant mercy...