Judge me, please!
Earle D. Treptow
While standing in line to board a plane, I noticed her tattoo. “No one can judge me,” it said.
My first thought ran along these lines: “What a helpful reminder for a Christian when the devil rubs her nose in her sin and argues, ‘God cannot love you and will not forgive you. Because you do not have the righteousness he demands, he has no choice but to punish you, now and forever.’ ” Though Satan acts as if he is both judge and jury, he has no standing in God’s court. The truth is that Jesus died for every sinner, enduring the punishment for every transgression, even the ones the devil suggests have stretched beyond the pale. Jesus’ resurrection proves that every sin has been forgiven. What’s more, Jesus is now seated at the right hand of the Father and continually intercedes for all who trust in him. Since Jesus does not condemn us, the devil cannot condemn us.
What struck me later about her tattoo was its placement. It was on the back of her neck, a place she probably didn’t see all that often. The words of the tattoo, then, weren’t really intended as words of comfort or encouragement for her. The tattoo meant to sound a warning to others. “You are going to judge me? Please! Who are you to talk to me about my attitude or my words or my actions? You’re no better than I am. I don’t need your opinion, so you might as well keep your thoughts to yourself.”
We know exactly where she’s coming from! We don’t particularly care to have people question our attitudes or confront us about our actions. If they want to praise us for what we do, we are willing to listen. But should they wish to address some failing, we definitely don’t want to hear it. We’re fairly certain they don’t have the right to say it.
What a wonderful world this would be if people understood that they have no right to judge us! We’re ready to sign on the dotted line, eager to move into a safe and secure “judge-me-not” world. Residents in the “judge-me-not” community dismiss any charges leveled against them. They feel no need to explain their actions, because they’re convinced that everything they’ve done is, by the fact that they did it, good and right.
That, however, is not the community in which the Lord wants his people to live. He brought us into his church and gave us our fellow believers for our benefit.
The Savior instructs our brothers and sisters in faith, “If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him” (Luke 17:3). Jesus wants our fellow believers to judge us, to compare our actions with God’s Word and to rebuke us when we sin. That’s how much our Savior loves us! The One who gave himself into death refuses to sit idly by and let us wander from the path of life. Because he wants you to live with him forever, the Lord puts fellow believers into your life. He moves them to love you enough to judge you, to confront you with your sinful attitudes, and to rebuke your sinful actions. He does so for your everlasting good, to lead you to repentance and rescue you from death.
That changes our perspective, doesn’t it? We need not dismiss those who confront us, scoffing at their arrogance, “Judge me? Please!” Instead, knowing our Savior’s love for our souls, we humbly ask our brothers and sisters in Christ, “Judge me, please!”
Contributing editor Earle Treptow, president of the Nebraska District, is pastor at Zion, Denver, Colorado.
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Author: Earle D. Treptow
Volume 102, Number 5
Issue: May 2015
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