Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Judgmental Hypocrite in the Mirror

Mark Twain once said, “It ain’t those parts of the Bible that I can’t understand that bother me, it’s is the parts that I DO understand.”

Well, there is a very clear and understandable concept in the Bible that has me worried. It’s the fact that God is going to judge us using the same standard we use to judge others.


Jesus said, “For as you judge, so will you be judged, and the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you.”

All of us know someone who is quick to get angry, and who is always criticizing other people. No matter what, this person is never satisfied, constantly saying things like, “Hey, why’d you do it THAT way? It’s wrong! You should know better. And I told you to be here at 10 o’clock. It’s now five after ten. How dare you keep me waiting?!”


If God uses a particular person’s standard of judgment, can you imagine what will happen when that person dies and stands before the Almighty? God probably will say something like, “Hey, why’d you live your life THAT way? It was wrong! You should’ve known better. And I told you to be here last Thursday. It’s now Tuesday. How dare you keep me waiting?”


I suspect that will not be a very comfortable situation.


Now, please be honest. Is there any chance the judgmental person you have in mind is the same person who looks out at you from the bathroom mirror each morning? Just sayin’.

It’s a fact that human beings have an amazing capacity for self-deception. We often have no clue we are holding others to an impossibly high standard, while at the same time are quick to excuse and justify any mistakes we make. It’s called being hypocritical. And hypocrisy is one of those traits we intensely dislike when we see it in others, but we’re oblivious when it occurs in us.


In the Gospels, Jesus saved His harshest criticism for hypocrites. He actually was very gentle and loving with blatant sinners, such as drunkards, prostitutes, and New York Yankee fans. But Jesus pulled no punches with hypocrites, people who acted righteous in public but were selfish weasels in private—people such as the Scribes, the Pharisees, and members of Congress. He called them “a brood of vipers.” To be fair, when Congressmen are compared to a bunch of poisonous snakes, that is an unwarranted insult—to the snakes.

Ugh. There I go again: judging politicians by one standard, and judging myself by a much more lenient standard.


The amazing conclusion from the Bible is that God will judge different people by different standards. Which means God grades on a curve. Which means God is totally unfair.

On the other hand, I suppose we should be glad God is not fair. Because if He gave us the perfect justice we deserve, well, we’d all be in big trouble. That’s the whole point of the cross. God’s overwhelming love for us caused Him to be totally unfair. He willingly paid the price for our sins, even though we did nothing to earn that kind of forgiveness.


All we have to do to remain in God’s mercy is love Him, and love our neighbors as ourselves. This means judging other people by the same lenient standard we use to judge ourselves.

Just imagine if everyone did this. There would be no more angry people in our lives, constantly criticizing everyone else. The next time you see that angry person, say, “I forgive you.” You can do that tomorrow. In the morning. In the mirror.

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