“But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me.” 1 Cor. 4:3-4.
I’m sure you’ve heard someone say, “It doesn’t matter what other people think about you.” Do you think they’re right? Paul seems to be saying something along those lines.
Yet there is a striking difference. Culture normally follows that phrase with, “It only matters what you think about you.” But Paul says the opposite: “I do not even judge myself.”
If we don’t have to live by the standards of others or even our own, then by whose standards are we trying to live up to? Paul tells us that, “It is the Lord who judges me.” We are living up to God’s standards alone! This is not a works based system. God tells us how to live for our joy and His glory, knowing all the time that we will never be able to perfectly obey (Phil. 3:12). Thank God for the righteousness of Christ placed on us, cleansing us of all sin—past, present, and future.
The Bible does teach that we should have humility and be willing to listen to correction from people we trust. But the value in their wisdom lies in their ability to convey what God thinks about our behavior.
The next time you’re tempted to be embarrassed in front of others because you failed to meet their standards, instead ask yourself what God thinks about you. There are times when you will find you need to repent, and then focus on the grace of Christ you’ve already been given.
Marian. A. Jacobs