“I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself.” (1 Corinthians 4:3)
Paul’s statement about himself is not only astonishing, but also a difficult act to imitate for us who follow Christ. We live in a world where we interact with people and all we do interface with others’ lives. It is inevitable that people judge us, and our actions. More often than not, the sequel is for man to modify his lifestyle and actions in a way that will earn popular approval. Yet the Bible dissuades us from conforming to the pattern of this world. Any tendency within us to do things for gaining the approval of the world would need to be weeded out.
If so what would be the right motive to do the things we do? Paul begins this passage with a description of Christians, “as servants of Christ entrusted with the secret things of God”. We need to consider ourselves as servants of Christ above all things, an attitude that sure will take us away from being burdened to please those around us. All that is done as service to those around us blooms on the tree of our service to the Lord. It is only him that we need to please. For Paul, who had perfected the role of servant-hood to Jesus, it was easy to dismiss the uninformed comments of human courts and self- appointed judges around him.
Paul also says that we are entrusted with the secret invisible things of God. The extent to which a person of God can do godly things is the extent to which he can grasp the secret things of God, which understandably are not well appreciated by the crowd we interact with. Even the church in its current form gets lost in the visible things of the world, including money, popularity, tradition and so on. The casualty turns out to be an understanding of the deep secret things of God, a forceful movement in the spiritual realm and the ability to accomplish that, which is lasting and substantial. However for a person like Paul, who made a habit of living in that realm, it can only be by a dismissal of opinions and judgment by those around him who operate only in the seen visible realm.
Paul goes one step forward and says that he does not even judge himself. There are two reasons why this becomes important. First, we do not have perfect knowledge. All our lives are clouded by the darkness of sin that pervades our world. We see only a reflection in the mirror; a time will come when we see clearly and know perfectly. However, that time awaits the second coming of Christ and the renewal that will follow. It is important not to get carried away by the notion that we are accomplishing the most important things in the world- the pride that follows can be quite damaging for the human soul. It is only reasonable to acknowledge that there might be hidden motives within us, that we are not aware of that are self-centered. Second, evaluating one’s actions can cause regret and can disable many a Christian warrior from being useful. What is required is an attitude of forgetting what is past and pressing on toward the future.
For one who focuses on being faithful to God, not subjecting oneself to judgment is not just a necessity but also a great relief.
- OF TENTS AND HOUSES
- ASKING FOR A KING