Worst Sinner Award
Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? —Matthew 7:1-3
Jesus instructs us not to judge others because it is not our place as humans to function as if we can know what only God can know about others. Even more, we cannot judge others because we ourselves are sinners who deserve judgment. Actually, the act of judging others subjects us to the same judgment we apply to them.
Instead, we are to consider our own sins to be logs and other people’s sins to be specks! We are finite, sinful human beings, and as such, we have no business setting ourselves up as the moral police of others, acting as though we know the state of people’s hearts and concluding that we are in any way superior to them.
Paul applied this to his life in this way:
Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience … —1 Tim 3:15-16
It doesn’t matter how minor society or religion may consider your specific sin. It doesn’t matter how major another person’s sin might be in the eyes of the culture or the church in comparison to your own sin. We are to consider ourselves as the worst of sinners. We are to volunteer ourselves for the “worst sinner award.”
If we don’t do this, we’ll remain entrapped by the addiction to the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. That we are sinners and yet we judge makes us hypocrites, and our judgements are selective and self-serving. Left unchecked, these self-serving judgments will shape our lives and our relationships.
Therefore, when you catch yourself looking down on another person, remind yourself that whatever sin or imperfection you think you see in another person, it is a mere speck of dust compared to the tree trunk of sin and imperfection in your own life.
At the same time remember the truth that you have been completely forgiven and are engulfed in God’s love moment-by-moment. Out of the fullness of God’s forgiving presence with you and the love that God gives you, you are then empowered to extend this same love and forgiveness to whomever you are encountering, talking about, or even just thinking about. Try it and see what changes as a result.
—Adapted from Present Perfect, pages 113-114, and Repenting of Religion, pages 107-108
Art: “Girl at a Table”
by: Oleksandr Murashko