My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God.1 Corinthians 4:4-5 NIV
Paul’s message here is one that I have to constantly remind myself of. It is very easy to fall into the trap of thinking that other people are like me. That they have the same thoughts and motivations that I do. And that makes it so tempting to judge them when they act in ways that are contrary to what seems right to me. But I am only deceiving myself when I think I know what’s going on in another person’s head. In reality, I often don’t even understand myself, much less other people. Because of that, I believe it is best for me not to be too quick to judge others.
Not Qualified to Judge
And I believe this is especially true of other believers. We have each been entrusted to serve Christ in some way. And we are answerable to him for our faithfulness to that calling. While I believe I am serving faithfully, in the end, it is the Lord who will judge the quality of my faithfulness. And if I am not really qualified to judge myself, how much less am I qualified to judge the faithfulness of other believers.
I can, and should, lovingly come alongside other believers and encourage and correct as needed. That is a way that we can grow together. But don’t be fooled into thinking that you understand what’s going on deep inside another person. And that you are qualified to judge another of God’s servants. We are not. Instead, let’s show grace and mercy to each other. And leave judgment in the Lord’s hands.