In his book Mere Christianity, CS Lewis, talks about the Law of Human Nature. He asserts that we all know instinctively, what is right and what is wrong, but unlike the law of nature (gravity, genetics etc) we have a choice as to whether we obey it.
Anybody who has ever heard anyone say,’But that’s so unfair!’ or indeed said it themselves, knows that CS Lewis is right. We all have an innate sense of justice. Something that’s inside us that lets us know that something is unjust. We all have the ability to look at a situation and decide what would be a just outcome. I don’t think there is anyone who would say that a miscarriage of justice is fair, regardless of your political persuasion. Nobody would say that it is right to discriminate against another person because of their race, religion or disability; they might make representation as to why their actions were not discriminatory, but they would never argue that discrimination is fair. Even Hitler didn’t say discrimination was fair, he just had reasons why it was, in his view, necessary.
Anyone who’s been a parent, whose child says to them, in that whiny voice they sometimes have, ‘But that’s not fair!’ has probably said, hardly breaking for breath in response, ‘Life’s not fair!’
There is some sort of paradox here, surely. If life isn’t fair, why do we spend so much time, money and life fighting injustice, trying to correct wrongs and make life more fair. There are injustices all around us: death, poverty, disease, oppression, false imprisonment and yet we continue to have a deep desire for justice.
I also assert that this innate sense of justice comes from God. He is just and he is no doubt, the ultimate judge. The Bible, our authority on the character of God, tells us repeatedly that he is just. That he makes judgments that are fair and equitable. The wise King Solomon said to himself, ‘God will bring into judgement both the righteous and the wicked, for there will be a time for every activity, a time to judge every deed.’
So God like us is a judge, he judges every deed, yet he urges us not to judge. In the Gospel of Mathew, Jesus admonishes that we do not judge others, or we will be judged, the way we judge others. Isn’t that so true? If you are the one person in a group who is always on time and complains when anyone is late, you can be sure that the one time you are late, never mind that you are always on time, you will be judged as you have judged others!
That’s really why we are asked not to be the judge, because the only true judge is God. He is all-knowing, all-seeing and ever-present and he understands everything and everyone and is therefore the only one qualified to judge. Yet we say to each other all the time, ‘You be the Judge!’
He does not judge by our own standards though, he judges by his own standards that he set, a standard he knows we cannot meet, which is why he sent his son Jesus, because his justice is tempered with mercy. There is no doubt though that he will judge us all and the only way we can be justified and found righteous is through Jesus Christ who did all the work on the cross and when he finished, rose again, so that we can be justified by faith.
So instead of judging each other and ourselves, why don’t we just leave all the judging to God and say to him instead, ‘You be the judge!’