Unequal Judgment

equality 02As we saw in a recent article, God is no fan of equality. He rewards people differently, in different ways, in different amounts. And if we truly love our brother, this is a cause for rejoicing. This surprises some people.

People may be even more surprised when they find out that God’s unequal judgment not only applies to material things; it also applies to eternal things. Two people may have a similar list of sins, and a similar list of virtues, and God still may judge them differently.

According to Scripture, there are at least four things which can influence the judgment of God, either making it more lenient, or more strict:

1) If you know the truth, you will be judged more strictly than those who are ignorant of it.

And that servant who knew his master’s will, and did not prepare
himself or do according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.
But he who did not know, yet committed things deserving of stripes,
shall be beaten with few. For everyone to whom much is given,
from him much will be required . . .
(Luke 12:47-48)

2) If you presume to be a teacher, you will be judged more strictly.

My brethren, let not many of you become teachers,
knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.
(James 3:1)

3) If you are unmerciful to others, you will receive judgment without mercy.

For judgment is without mercy to the one who has
shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.
(James 2:13)

4) If you do not forgive others, you will not be forgiven.

For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father
will also forgive you.
 But if you do not forgive men their
trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
(Matthew 6:14-15)

And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers
until he should pay all that was due to him. So My heavenly
Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart,
does not forgive his brother his trespasses.
(Matthew 18:32-35)

God does not judge everyone equally. According to Holy Scripture, God’s judgment is sometimes gentle, sometimes strict.

This is one of the reasons why we should never judge our brother. We should never arrogantly assume that we are close to God, and that our brother is far away from Him.

Do we know for sure just how much spiritual knowledge our brother has?
Do we know for sure just how much teaching our brother does?
Do we know for sure just how merciful our brother is towards others?
Do we know for sure just how fully our brother has forgiven others of their sins?

Unless we have perfect knowledge of our brother’s heart in all of these areas, we cannot even begin to judge our brother in the same way that God will judge him. While we pat ourselves on the back for living righteously, and while we look down our nose at our brother’s sins, it may be that our brother is ushered into heaven because of his merciful and forgiving heart, even while we ourselves are condemned because of pride.

For the Lord does not see as man sees;
for man looks at the outward appearance,
but the Lord looks at the heart.
(1 Samuel 16:7)

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About Fr Joseph Gleason

I serve as a priest at Christ the King Orthodox Mission in Omaha, Illinois, and am blessed with eight children and one lovely wife. I contribute to On Behalf of All, a simple blog about Orthodox Christianity. I also blog here at The Orthodox Life.
This entry was posted in 1 Samuel 16, Humility, James 2, James 3, Luke 12:47-48, Matthew 18:21-35, Matthew 6:14-15, Particular Judgment, Reconciliation, Spiritual Living. Bookmark the permalink.

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