Monday, June 09, 2014

Thinking Too Highly of One's Own Righteousness

"The Pharisee and the Publican" -- by James Tissot

If there is one thing that I believe most people can't stand, it's "uppity people" who look down their noses at everyone. You know what I mean. I am talking about those people who are absolutely convinced that no one else is quite as good as them. At least that is they way in which they perceive themselves to be.

Very much like the Pharisees. they see themselves as "above" others, especially in a spiritual sense, and they believe themselves capable of judging just who is, and who is not Christian.

What they don't realize is, that by their judging of others, they tread not just on dangerous ground, but deadly ground. Jesus warned us not to judge others [Matthew 7:1], that we would be judged by the same criteria we use in judging our brothers and sisters [Matthew 7:2-3]

People make the mistake of thinking they can judge someone by how he or she looks, talks or dresses, and once again they fail to heed Jesus' warning about this as well [John 7:24] Jesus also told us we can't read the heart as God can [John 8:15], and that only He can truly judge [John 8:16].

Now when I talk about judging how someone dresses, I am not referring to those who are scantily clad, but those who's manner of dress may come from more modest means. I know of an instance of this.

This was in a church where one farmer attended every Sunday dressed in his bib overalls. Some of the people in that church complained to the pastor that the man was not dressed "good enough" to come before the Lord.

The pastor told them that he was grateful for a God who didn't look at how well they were dressed, but looked at how well they held Him in their hearts. He told them that because he knew how God looked at the heart, that he was sure that all those who held God in their hearts would be more than happy to come the next Sunday dressed in bib overalls, as he, the pastor would also do. God he said, isn't concerned with whether we attend in a $500 suit, or in bib overalls. He just wants His children to love and honor Him.

In essence, when ever you or I attempt to judge someone, we are calling them a fool for not being Christian in our eyes. We must not fail to heed the warning from Jesus about calling our brother or sister a fool [Matthew 5:22], for again we endanger ourselves.

If you or I get to the point of not just thinking, but believing that we are capable of judging another, then we have assigned ourselves the role of God, and we have also become like the pharisee who exalted himself above the publican and other sinners [Luke 18:10-14].

So, the bottom line is, do not fall into the trap of judging others.

Don't feel so smug, and satisfied in your perception of your own sanctity, that you believe you are capable of deciding who is, and who is not Christian. Only God can read the heart, certainly not you nor me.


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