One of the most common phrases in our culture, and in the church as well, is “you can’t judge me. Only God can judge me.” And yes, there are many verses in Scripture that tell us that we should not judge each other, and that God is the only judge of our behavior or intentions. (By the way, none of us really want God to judge us; as one of my professors in seminary used to tell us, when the Holy God of Heaven comes in judgment, we will all be found lacking.)
But I think that when that phrase is uttered, something else can be implied. “Only God can judge me” can quickly morph into, “you don’t matter.” Your opinions, your thoughts, your feelings, they don’t matter. And that simply isn’t what we are taught in Scripture. Listen to what Jesus tells us today in Matthew 18: 6-7:
“If any of you put a stumbling block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were fastened around your neck and you were drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe to the world because of stumbling blocks! Occasions for stumbling are bound to come, but woe to the one by whom the stumbling block comes!”
Jesus is telling us we should not be a stumbling block to others. In other words, you matter to me. My life and behavior affect you. How I live, how I act, what I do – my behavior will have an affect on the lives of those I know, those I love, those I’m in relationship with.
You matter to me. I want to live in a way that helps you, that strengthens you, that helps your walk with God, and with other people. You matter to me.
So yes, only God is the righteous judge. But may we never be so concerned with doing what we want, how we want to, that we forget that other people matter. May we never be a stumbling block to each other.
You matter to me. May I live in such a way that my life is blessing to you.