“I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. … It is the Lord who judges me. … He will bring to light what is hidden … At that time each will receive their praise from God.” (1 Corinthians 4:2-5)
There are always some who are seem very hard on themselves. They are convinced that they are not clever enough or not good enough. In general, they live on a knife-edge of shame, secretly harbouring the conviction that they will only make it to heaven by some kind of clerical oversight.
Again, there are others who are so full of themselves that they are simply unbearable to be around.
By contrast, Paul’s dismissal of our ability to accurately judge ourselves is rather refreshing! He insists we simply lack the lense to really see who we are. You see, the truth about ourselves only emerges from our relationship with God. We cannot get an accurate picture on our own because we tend to over or under-estimate. It is the Lord who judges us (4:4).
However, Paul does not seem to share the feelings of dread and despair that accompany many Christian reflections on the second coming of Christ. It is true, as it says in our text, that God “will bring to light things now hidden” (4:5). That might be a cause for fear and trembling, but it is noteworthy that Paul does not regard the last day with trepidation.
Rather, there is a buoyant confidence that God will strengthen his people, so that they might be blameless (1:8) as they are met by Christ.
And Paul anticipates “praise from God.” How about you?