How quickly we judge others. We assume we know what their individual circumstances are and by our pronouncements we even presume to know what is in their minds and hearts. We think that we can judge the actions, reactions, and non-reaction of others. We judge their sincerity and their salvation. But who are we to judge, and who is our judge? In our theme scripture (2 Corinthians 13:5) the Apostle Paul admonishes the Corinthians who have been persuaded to demand proof of Paulís apostleship to examine themselves. He asks that they examine the authenticity of their own Christian existence. We too are admonished to examine ourselves. If we would spend time examining ourselves, there would be little time to examine and judge others.
When was the last time we sat in judgment of someone else? When did we last ask questions regarding someone elseís commitment, sincerity, integrity, diligence, perseverance, or even the validity of their salvation? Did we ask the same questions of ourselves? Why not? Matthew (7:1) tells us to judge not that we be not judged. For with the same judgment we make, we will be judged. Yet we unwittingly judge others. What about us?
As we look to our convention theme: Itís thine: the Kingdom belongs to God: The Power is the Lordís, The Glory is The Lordís, we should pause to marvel at the realization that we have no authority to judge others. If indeed Christ dwells inside us, our wills will be yielded to Christís will. Our sole desire toward others would be to do them good and not evil. That means love and acceptance of others.
When we pray, "Thy will be done thy kingdom come, on earth as it is in heavenÖ" we are really saying that we want life on earth to resemble life in heaven. That means as "kingdom people" we must constantly be committed toward that end. Such a vast undertaking requires not only that we examine ourselves, be self-critical, but that we also are about the business of self-correction. For none of us has reached that place of perfection. But like the Apostle Paul we continue to ďÖpress toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.Ē
As we continue to learn more and more of the Master, and practice imitating Christ in our daily living we can then join the Apostle in saying, ďIt is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for meĒ Galatians 2:20.
We must ever be mindful that a church that has no power cannot influence the world. Accepting Christ as Savior, allows the Holy Spirit to take residence within. The presence of the Holy Spirit living in each of us empowers us to do Godís work. Christís presence in individual Christians is Christís presence in the church and the world. It is because of this presence right now, that we have a hope of glory in the future (Colossians 1:27). And it is because of this presence that we can accomplish, for God, what seems impossible. May each of us, examine ourselves, not our neighbors, or friends, to see if we are by the very lives we live, ďenemies of the cross.Ē
- What changes would I have to make in my daily living in order to make Godís Kingdom more visible on earth?
- At the last judgment, Christ will examine me. If I were to do a pre-exam, what areas of my life and work, would I find totally unacceptable? What am I willing to do to take corrective action?
The Harper Collins Study Bible, New Revised Standard Version with the
Apocryphal/Deuterocanonical Books, (1993)
San Francisco: Harper Collins Publishers.
Harpers Bible Commentary, (1988) San Francisco: Harper Collins Publishers.
Rev. Dr. Thelma Chambers-Young is President of the Womenís Department
of the Progressive National Baptist Convention (PNBC). She is on leave
from her job as a staff psychologist with the Federal Correctional Institution
in El Reno, Oklahoma. Her education includes an undergraduate degree in
special education from Alabama A & M University, a Master of Public Health
degree from the University of Oklahoma and a Ph.D. in counseling psychology
from Oklahoma State University. She is currently pursuing a Master of
Divinity degree at Phillips Theological Seminary. Rev. Chambers-Young
is First Lady of Holy Temple Baptist Church in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
where Rev. George E. Young, Sr. is Pastor.
Rev. Chambers-Young is a staff writer for the Worker Magazine, a missionary and educational quarterly published by the PNBC. The opinions expressed in the above article were first published in the Worker and are those of the author and is used by permission.