Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The Courts In our Lives

I used to watch the People's Court on TV when it came out in the early 80s.  Then there was Judge Judy and a whole bunch of other similar shows that came out.  For awhile, there were so many of these kinds of shows on Television that it was hard to keep track of them all.  It seems as if everyone loved to watch courtroom drama. 

All of these different kinds of "courts" brings to mind a passage that gives an evaluation of different kinds of courts. 

I Corinthians 4:3-4 says, "I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself.  My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent.  It is the Lord who judges me."

The first courts the text mentions are human courts.  Sometimes we refer to the "Court of Public Opinion."  This refers to what the public thinks of certain things, actions, or people.  We also have our official courts of law.  This is where legal decisions are handed down.  The judgement of a court of can order someone to cease and desist, to pay a fine, or even do time in jail.  Both of these are human courts.  This passage makes it clear that human courts are not what ultimately will judge us in the end.  Human courts are not the ultimate standard to judge us.  In fact, human courts are just as fallible as the human beings in them, especially the court of public opinion.

Another "court" is the one in our heads.  Every single one of us has a conscience that either convicts us or excuses us.  When we consider an action, our conscience is our inner guide that tells us whether it is right or wrong.  However, according to this passage, our conscience is not the standard of authority that will ultimately judge us.  In fact, our consciences can be defiled according to Titus 1:15, or seared as with a hot iron, according to 1 Timothy 4:2.  Even if our consciences are clear, this does not make us innocent.  A person's personal conscience is not what ultimately determines what is right or wrong.

The final court is the court of the Lord.  This is ultimately the only court that matters in the end.  It is not the court of public opinion, human courts, or even one's personal conscience that ultimately will judge a person in the end.  It is the Lord who judges.  This means that it is not the word of man, but the word of God that is the standard. 

This is a reminder that popularity does not make something right.  The majority does not make something right.  What is considered right, good, or enlightened by society in today's times does not make something right.  What everyone else is doing does not make something right.  Even if something is legal, this does not necessarily mean it is right.  In fact, Proverbs 14:12 says that there is a way that "appears" to be right, but in the end it leads to death.

This is why it is so important to live in the word of God and let it shape and mold your mind.  Romans 12:2 says "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will."

Neither the court of public opinion, nor some human court, nor even my personal conscience is what will judge me in the end.  It is the Lord who judges.

Lord, please forgive me for the times that I allowed myself to be more influenced by the world and its values rather than your word.  Father, please grant discernment and wisdom to see things as they really are.  Help me to view things from your perspective.  Help me to evaluate everything according to truth, which comes from you.  Remind me that the pattern of this world is passing away and will be destroyed, but you and your kingdom will endure forever.  May I be conformed to the image of Christ rather than to the pattern of this world.