Chukwuemeka Chinedu is an ongoing Student Pastor at Nigeria Baptist Theological Seminary, Ogbomosho, with BSc in Economics.
The Privileged Ability to Judge
What is Righteous Judgement
According to Oxford Learner's Dictionaries, Judgement means the ability to make sensible decisions after carefully considering the best thing to do. Therefore, there must be careful consideration for any judgment to be made that will result in a sensible decision. However, these days most people are not carefully considering their thoughts and therefore make wrong decisions. Making decisions in this sense is about personal and interactive decisions. Making personal decisions to perform specific individual daily actions like brushing his teeth, bathing, working in the office. There are also interactive decisions with neighbours and the environment, like cutting trees, bush burning, greeting a neighbour, congratulating someone. All these decisions affect our everyday lives. These decisions can be positive or negative to our relationships, growth, character, and destiny.
Therefore what does it mean to make a righteous judgement? It takes one that is righteous to make righteous judgement consistently. That is, an individual's personal and interactive decisions must always be morally right. A righteous man invariably does what is right. He makes the right decisions in whatever he does. However, still, this topic is not talking about a righteous man. For there is none righteous before God. God is the only righteous judge that can carry out the right judgement for every matter and act. His righteousness has been imputed in us through Jesus Christ by His grace. Therefore, Righteous Judgement can be the right decision made by one who fears and acknowledges God's sovereignty in every matter and action of his life and his relationship with people and the environment.
Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgement.
— Jesus Christ
Judge Righteously in Every Act
A prestigious University in the department of law, a distinguished professor of law, asked his students in a class an essential question concerning a topic: 'Who has the supreme right to judge?' Furthermore, he warned them to think carefully for a better reply; and his question goes thus: 'is everyone supposed to have the ability and right to judge?'
To judge is derived from the word judgement. According to the Oxford Learner's dictionary, the word judge in a verbal context means to make an opinion or conclusion about an action or circumstance of oneself or another.
The scriptural passage in 2 Chronicles 19: 5-7 narrates about one of the acts of King Jehoshaphat, King of Judah, in setting up judges throughout all the fenced cities of Judah to establish the righteousness of God's Judgement in Judah. King Jehoshaphat was one of the most fabulous Kings of Judah during his reign and therefore sought God during his time. He did well to warn all the judges he had appointed in every city to judge righteously. He pointed out three important facts about God being with them in judgement. They are:
- God has no part with iniquity; therefore, they should fear Him.
- With God, there is never respect for persons.
- God can never receive bribes from anyone.
According to God's loving grace and power, He has given man a will of his own, with specific instructions to obey, so that man can surrender his will unto God to carry out righteous judgment. Every human created by the grace of God has the ability and privilege to judge. Everybody, one way or the other, are judging consciously or unconsciously. We consciously or unconsciously make decisions; we agree where to go, what to eat, whom to talk to, and what clothes to wear. All these are ways we carry out judgement.
Nevertheless, the issue is, "are we judging righteously?" Have we surrendered the privileged right to judge unto God to be directed by His Spirit, or are we using our carnal ability to judge in our everyday dealings and actions? Yes, leaders, elders, bishops, supreme court judges and those in power have been allowed by God to have some certain degree of privileges and rights to judge and to judge those under them. However, if these leaders are wise and realize that it was by the mercy of God that they were privileged to receive such power and position of honour, they should be humble with trembling on how they judge and therefore give glory to God.
King Nebuchadnezzar was a great king of the Babylonian empire that was allowed by God to conquer many nations. During King Nebuchadnezzars reign, God made him achieve many victories in his conquest. He was an Emperor with many nations serving under his kingdom. With these privileges, Nebuchadnezzar failed to acknowledge God, who placed him in such a position of authority and splendour. He failed to honour God for what God has used him to accomplish. He failed to judge righteously. The man of God, Daniel, warned King Nebuchadnezzar about his dream, revealing the message: that God wants him to repent, judge righteously and honour God. Unfortunately, King Nebuchadnezzar was adamant about his reasoning and did not heed Daniel's counsel. What happened immediately to the king due to failing to honour God was a fall and removal from the privileges of kingship. Eventually, Nebuchadnezzar reasoned and judged rightly by giving God the glory and acknowledging his supreme dominion and majesty.
We should be careful not to judge our neighbours unrighteously. To judge one another can be dangerous, for the Bible commanded: "do not judge that you may not be judged". The Bible implies that a Christian should not be hasty to judge or be a fault finder in other people's affairs, except those that God has allowed having specific privileged authority to do so. Be children of God in judging righteously according to God's will and according to the level of authority he has allowed in our boundary.
© 2021 Chukwuemeka Chinedu