Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.
Select a thought to read by choosing a collection, the month, and then the day:
“All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the spirits.”
Solomon, in Proverbs 16:2
“But to me, it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human judgment; indeed, I do not even judge myself. For I am conscious of nothing against myself ; however, I am not justified by that, for he who judges me is the Lord.”
Paul, in 1Corinthians 4:3-4
When young Saul of Tarsus helped kill Stephen for preaching the gospel (Acts 7), and when he cruelly persecuted God’s children (Acts 9), he believed he was right in doing so. But he was wrong. And when Jesus met the young zealot on the road to Damascus and revealed to him that he was wrong, Saul learned a critical lesson: man does not know how to judge right and wrong. Afterward, Saul became Paul the apostle, and he wrote to the saints in Corinth that, even though he knew nothing he was doing wrong, he had learned to let the Lord judge him and not to make any judgments about himself. Even if he felt that he had a clear conscience, he had learned not to trust that.
“Every way of a man is right in his own eyes”, wrote Solomon (Prov. 21:2a). Even the worst of sinners can be found justifying his sin and continuing in it. “But the Lord ponders the hearts” (Prov. 21:2b). Man has found a way to justify every evil that he has ever done, including forming religions that have nothing to do with God. In the ancient world, he built idols and then praised them; in the modern world, in the Middle East, he murders innocent people in God’s name, while in this culture, he vomits moral filth out of his perverse heart and then rejoices in his “freedom of speech”. Every way of a man is right in his own eyes.
What man must come to recognize is that no one’s judgment is right except God’s. That is why Paul cautioned the Corinthian saints to “judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and will expose the intentions of hearts; and then will each man have praise from God” (1Cor. 4:5).
It is important to keep your conscience clear, but it is more important that even then, you do not pronounce your own judgment but that you wait for the Lord to either justify you or reveal to you some secret fault. When Jesus said, “Judge not”, he not only meant to refrain from condemning others but also to refrain from justifying yourself. He was saying, in effect, “Wait for me to reveal to you what is right about others and yourself.”
My father used to tell me that if two people were quarreling, he did not need to listen to each one of them to explain his position to him because he already knew who was right: both of them – in their own eyes. Are you still right in your own eyes? Or have you been delivered from your own righteousness by the mercy of God?