“But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man’s judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self.“
That’s Paul in 1 Corinthians 4:3. I have always found that verse to be amazing and inspiring.
I have always been a person who has relied on what people thought of me. I have been terrified many times, especially as a kid, about what others thought of me, what if I look stupid? What if they notice my idiocy and mock me?
To be in a place where you don’t care about other people’s judgments of you is amazing to me.
Furthermore though, and even more amazing, Paul says he doesn’t judge himself! I am my worst critic.
OK. Wait, I have actually had worse critics of me than myself. I’m probably my fourth worst critic. The point is, I am very hard on myself.
When you know your own sin, your failings, your lack of results, and perhaps your lack of effort, the easiest thing is to make sure everyone notices how rotten those other guys are.
That’s easier than actually, like, you know, working harder and stuff.
The more we have sin in our life, the more judgmental we become of others.
Paul later on tells us to “esteem others better than yourself.”
So wait, I’m not supposed to care what others think about me, I don’t even judge myself, and yet at the same time I’m supposed to view others better than me?
How does that work?
If I were to go around saying, “It is a very small thing that I should be judged of you,” trust me when I tell you, I’d say that as a big jerk.
But Paul is holding himself to a higher standard than merely what people think. He holds himself to the standard of what God thinks.
If you’re doing the right thing, no one can say anything to you that can sway you from it. If you need to do it for your stand before God, who can stop that?
When we live in view of our stand before God, we want others to do the same. Since we want others to view themselves before God, we cease to be their judge.
Since we don’t have to rip others down to look better, we can honestly esteem others better than ourselves. Only sinners fear morally right people. Morally right people do not need to fear sinners.
The whole thing is tricky, your flesh will mess with you on this one. Self-righteousness is a killer. Judgmentalism is tough to kill in any of us.
But constantly seeing ourselves before the Judge of the Universe will go a long way in helping you esteem others better than yourself, and, at the same time, not being swayed by their judgments.