“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.”
Matthew 7:1-2 (NIV)
Even those unfamiliar with the Bible have likely heard some version of this verse quoted.
Often, this Scripture is used as a sword against a condemning critic.
For instance, if a Christian is claiming that Jesus is the only way to Heaven, a skeptic might say, “So you are saying all Hindus go to Hell…that’s judging and your Bible says you can’t judge!”
It actually says, if you judge, that measure will be used in judging you. Since Jesus Himself claimed to be the only way to Heaven, and then commanded followers to go tell that to the whole world, it seems highly unlikely that the skeptic’s point was valid. To be clear, Christians can be harsher than necessary. But in the end, there is Absolute Truth, and by definition, all short of that is, of course, false.
But the skeptic might allege that there is no such thing as Absolute Truth. Oddly, he would be asserting that, “the lack of Absolute Truth is absolutely true!” (Often, this irony is lost on skeptics.)
That being said, we are likely all guilty of judging others. Further, and more disturbingly, we all probably have judged God Himself.
Steve Jobs, the late founder of Apple Computers, was a skeptic. In his self-titled biography, Walter Isaacson describes a pivotal moment in Jobs’ life. At 13, young Steve Jobs was disturbed by a photo of starving children in Africa and confronted his pastor with it. He asked the minister if God knew about these children. The Pastor tried to explain that He did. Jobs reportedly proclaimed that he wanted nothing to do with worshiping such a God, and he never again darkened a church door.
That is judging God. And, I imagine, am just as guilty of it at times. Using human reasoning, Steve Jobs had a valid point. It brings us to one of the most important questions there is:
If God is all-powerful, and He does not just stop all the suffering, can He really be all loving? If He is all loving, but just cannot stop it, can He really be all-powerful?
It is this paradox that trips up most folks. And, we sit in our lawn chairs, as it were, and judge God Almighty—this as He reigns on the massive, golden throne of all the universe.
The harsh truth is, most of us feel we could run the planet, or at least our little lives, better than God. Don’t believe me? What is your reaction when you pray for something and it does not happen?
In fact, there is an all loving, all-powerful God that exists. And it is not you. And it is not me.
The wondrous question is not about the qualities of God, and whether He cares. It is why does He care at all? He made us, and we rebelled. In a perfect environment, we could not even follow one simple rule for long. That choice brought all the sin, suffering and death that we see. The amazing thing is that He sent a ransom for us—His Only Son—that we would not be lost forever.
The deepest tragedy then, is not even the awful deaths of starving children in Africa.
The worst thing is that people are so deceived that they choose a lifetime of godless skepticism to be followed by a godless eternity of torment.