Gary W. Summers
One of the popular phrases being used currently when discussing human behavior is: “You can’t judge me; only God can judge me.” This response has ploy written all over it, and everyone knows that. These words serve as a discussion terminator, which is the intent of them. This response parallels what people say when you knock on their door to see if they have any interest in a Bible study, and they respond by saying, “We’re Catholic.” It’s a conversation ender. So, how can a person respond to the “judging” ruse?
Perhaps the best approach is to acknowledge the truth of the statement by agreeing, “You are right. In the final analysis, only God will judge each one of us.” Let those words sink in for a moment, and then ask, “What standard do you think He will judge us by?” This question could come as a surprise, and the individual may ask, “What do you mean?” The response should be something like: “Well, every judge has a standard that he uses to render a decision. In football or basketball, the referees have a rulebook by which to resolve controversial situations. In court, a judge uses laws and precedents to render a just decision. What is the standard that God will use to judge each one of us?”
At this point, who can predict what someone will say? If the person’s goal was to terminate the conversation, you will hear something like, “It doesn’t matter; I’ll be fine. Don’t worry about it.” If you’re feeling bold, you might respond by saying, “When that day comes, you may wish I had worried more—and that you had, too.” The point is to press someone gently and firmly without being overbearing.
If the person answers, “I don’t know what the standard is,” then ask him or her to read John 12:48, in which Jesus said, “ He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.” Continue by noting that Jesus gave a list of actions that defile a man in Matthew 15:19; these include “evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.” If applicable, point out that fornication includes living together outside of marriage, homosexuality, and every other aberration of God’s plan for one man and one woman. All sins must be repented of, according to the Lord (Luke 13:3). Otherwise we will perish on the Day of Judgment. The point is that God has given us standards of right and wrong by which He will judge us. You might ask, “Isn’t it our responsibility to know and conform to those standards? We can know now how God will judge us, based on what He has revealed to us in the Holy Scriptures.”