What would it look like if we were to judge ourselves?
Some of us are 'better' at this than others, constantly abusing or praising ourselves, being either our most lenient or harshest critics.
However, what if we were to dig out the monsters in our closet and analyse who we really are, despite what we tell ourselves? The rage, the self-hatred. The pride, the self-righteousness. Our ingrained human nature to rebel against God.
If we were to take out all of those and lay them on the bed, how would we really judge ourselves? I think that whatever our conclusion is, we're wrong.
Our judgement fails
Whether we really, deep down, feel like we are a good person or we feel like the scum of the earth, we are wrong, are we not?
We judge ourselves by our own standards. We read the Bible and listen to people around us and we deem for ourselves if we are saved or worth saving. We fluctuate on these scales of self-approval and condemnation, deciding for ourselves where we ought to be when the choice is entirely out of our hands.
We are not our own. We are God's and it is His decision that places us in His kingdom or not.
I so often slip into the mind-set that I am not truly saved, that I have messed up too many times, that I am too sinful. I feel unworthy, a disgrace against God, and constantly He reminds me that it is not my choice to be saved. He is Judge over all, I cannot decide for myself that I am damned. I know many of you are in the same boat.
Equally so, it works in reverse. We think ourselves good and thrive on a form of righteousness. We do His works, pray, read the Bible, bathe in His presence as we worship.
When we do all the right things, when we are engulfed in a holy lifestyle, it is easy to believe that this is what saves us. Because we do these things, God accepts us and a spot is reserved in Heaven as a result.
No action will ever deem us worthy. It isn't always that we do these things with the intention of it redeeming us, but isn't it always somewhere in the back of our minds that without such actions we would be worthless?
Our relationship with God is not one where we can override His decision and decide for Him whether we are in His kingdom or not. We can't tell Him what He can or can't do, we cannot just tell Him He is wrong about us. He knows the number of hairs on our head, our every move and thought, our ups and downs. Who are we to tell our Father where we belong?
God created us and everything. He is Lord of all, our Father and Judge who protects and punishes, guides, and rebukes. He is a just and merciful God who loves His children dearly. We are His, we are not our own. So why do we judge ourselves as if we have any say in the matter?
It is good to be self-aware, to notice our strengths and flaws and work on them with Him. Self-analysis and honesty are vital parts of personal development and spiritual growth, but I don't think this gives us the right to determine where in God's kingdom we belong.
One who is able to bear the weight of judgement
Judgement is heavy. In the end times the Lord's supreme judgement shall be unleashed upon this earth and upon ourselves, determining once and for all where we stand. Revelations speaks of hard times, of pain and suffering, and of hope and encouragement.
No one but God is capable of bearing the weight of such things, of having to face the pain of having to punish some while saving others. It's not a light issue and frankly I think it is a relief that we don't have to face the responsibility of determining who lives and who dies, especially of ourselves.
So rather than spend our nights hating ourselves or our days swathed in self-approval, how about we remember that it is our relationship with God that matters, not what we do.
Let's focus on God and His love and not exclude ourselves from it or grow detached for fear of our tainted souls. Let's resist the temptation to stress and get carried away with how religious we are.
We are all messed up creatures rebelling against the only One who truly understands us. He knows our future, so relax. Be at peace with your Father. Good deeds and self-discipline will mean nothing if we don't first realign with Him.
Sabrina is studying English and History at the University of Canterbury, where she is a member of Christian Union. She has a passion for youth, art, reading, and writing with aspirations to become a teacher.
Sabrina Meyer'sprevious articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/sabrina-meyer.html