Who made us the Judge and Jury? That we could claim that we know a man's heart. Or a woman's heart. We do it all the time. We make judgment calls on all. Yes, we are supposed to discern behaviors and use wisdom in dealing with others. God even gives us guidelines on certain behaviors...
Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person, do not associate with one easily angered, or you may learn their ways and get yourself ensnared. Proverbs 22:24-25
Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.” I Corinthians 15:33
Yet, most of the time we go overboard...judging a person's heart harshly. Recently, I was reading The Freedom of Self Forgetfulness: The Path to True Christian Joy which talks about how others may judge and criticize us. Our goal is not to take others' opinions into account. Our goal isn't to even take our own opinion of ourselves into account. The only opinion that matters is God's. He sees our hearts. He knows where we are at better than we know ourselves. He is the only Judge capable of making an accurate assessment of us. And if we have given our lives to Christ there is only one verdict. Always.
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1
He doesn't convict us. It doesn't matter what we have done. It doesn't matter how badly we messed up or embarrassed ourselves. He doesn't look at what we think of ourselves. And He really could care less what others think. There is no jury out on who we are. There is only a Judge that makes a final decision...amazingly before our story is even finished! I will take God as my judge any day over myself or those around me!
In The Unburdened Heart: Finding the Freedom of Forgiveness, Suzanne Eller talk about this concept through a quote she puts in her book:
We give a pencil to others and we say, "tell us who we are." If they write words that hurt, we embrace that as our story. No one person should be responsible to write our story. God is the only One who can truly hold the pencil. Regardless of our past or what others say, it is His words that define who we are. If we ever grasp that truth, then we no longer give anyone else permission to write the story of our lives. In fact, we take our pencil and we begin to write His love on the hearts of others.
Will you hand over the gavel and the pencil to the only One who is capable of judging and writing your story?