What would you do if faced with the blanket “only God can judge” statement in church? With a little biblical research, it is easy to show that the Christian faith reflects a need to relinquish judgment. “Matthew 7:1, remember?” A friend scolds another, ever conscience of those words spoken by Christ.
7 r“Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 sFor with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and twith the measure you use it will be measured to you. 3 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but udo not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. (ESV)
Hearing just the first part of that story, judging may be occasionally viewed as improper. It i
s easy to imagine the conversation that could be upheld by a person of faith with even the slightest tinge of biblical awareness. “Judgement of another is,” a friend says matter-of-factly, “wrong, period.”
An image appears: a dawn breaking over the roadways a mere fifteen minutes north of the small town of Metropolis, Illinois. A county seat, with a courthouse calling its jurist into session. You are driving in to hear a case that you can’t discuss, and your fellow jurists know very little about one another. Across from you, sitting next to a middle-aged white man in a charcoal black suit is a black man whose face looks tired. He’s wearing an orange jumpsuit with a few numbers in a white box over his heart. When he turns, you can see the county’s name scrawled in bold black along his shoulder blades. It takes only moments for you to see that he hasn’t done what the prosecutor thinks is so wrong. You are looking into his eyes as his lawyer says, “the evidence doesn’t add up.”
Do you adjudicate, or do you cling to the less-than-contextualized words of Christ? Before the case, do you pipe up and say, “my religious views don’t allow for me to pass judgement” to the judge? All of these thoughts linger, with even more underlying questions remaining.
Do you believe that God calls us to bring forth her justice?