Have you ever measured yourself? I don’t mean with a pencil to add to those special milestone marks on your Mother’s doorframe. I’m talking about measuring yourself with an internal ruler.
How deep is my love for others?
How wide is my understanding of another’s trials.
How far will I stand up to help someone?
Or, to look at it from a different angle:
When I look at myself, harsh ruler in hand, do I compare myself to Joe Blow or Susie Do-good and come up short. Inches short… What then?
2 Corinthians 10:12 has the answer. “We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.”
See? Comparing ourselves, in both our qualities and faults is not wise or beneficial. Verse 18 of that chapter says: “For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.”
On the flip side of that— is how I judge others…
What sort of ruler do I use to judge others? Now, discerning and judging are different. For eg, if my daughter wants to hang out with a group of girls who back-chat their parents, steal and use foul language, then I’m going to be discerning and say to her, ‘You know sweetie, I don’t want you hanging out with them, I don’t think they are a good influence.’ Or, if some sort of multimedia makes a poor use of my time then I could decide to limit how much time I spend on Facebook/the internet/email interaction.
Judging, on the other hand is to set myself up in the place of God to decide the consequences of a person’s action/words. God alone knows their backstory. He alone knows their heart motive for doing/saying something. He knows all the facts. I don’t.
An example of this would be me walking along a road and find a cow stuck in a bog. I could berate the cow for being so stupid as to find itself in such a fix and how it was an inconvenience for others to pull it out etc etc. But what happened before I came along? Did the cow fall in herself as she attempted to help her calf, or did someone push her, or just fell in because of sheer ignorance to the locality of common bogs. You get the point though, a person/cow’s reasons for finding themselves in a fix might be very different to how it appears.
Matthew 7:2 sums it up: “For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
So, how then am I to measure myself, judge myself, to get it right?
I start with a perfect measuring line, a perfect ruler. Something or Somebody to measure myself against.
But wait, I fall short of that also, this time far shorter than when I compared myself to Susie Do-good. Now what?
Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Sin covered? Check. Made perfect? Check. So, now when God looks at me he doesn’t see the crooked ruler I use against myself, with the edges worn and numbers tattered from years of use, no, he doesn’t see that. He sees Jesus and His perfection.
And the measure he wants us to have?
John 17:13 “I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them.
He wants us to have a full measure of joy.
I pray that you also will know and have the full measure of joy that he offers.
How about you? How do you measure yourself? And is your internal ruler getting a bit hard to bear? Perhaps it’s time to trade it in…