Judge Ourselves

brown wooden gavel on brown wooden table

For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.

1 Corinthians 11:31 (KJV)

Judge ourselves – During the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur, these words of Paul ring loudly. If we examine ourselves and discern our own actions, then we’d be free of the final judgment. God’s punishment today is accepted as merciful and loving compared to what is coming upon the world.

Yom Kippur is about bringing ourselves before God in great humility. Recognizing our collective sin as a body and repenting of it together. Yom Kippur is not about the individual. This is why Paul uses the pronoun “we” in his statement. If we judge ourselves…

We all have a different take on the condition of our people. Some are more privy to the community’s problems while others may be shielded more from them. Just as an individual we are not perfect, as a whole, our imperfections are abundant. Although we strive as a community, we also fall as a community. This day is given to us that we might recognize this and turn again to our Creator and ask for forgiveness of these errors.

But to do this, we need to judge ourselves – honestly. Take off the rose colored glasses and discern with true discernment. Only then can we make the corrections, judge ourselves, that we may avoid the final judgement as a part of the body of Christ.

Paul’s teaching is a long held Jewish instruction that was finally written down in 20th century in the Hakhsharat HaAvrekhim.

Simply put, when there is judgment below, (and man is honest with himself and his relationship to God’s Law), then there is no judgment above, (for He will suspend the sentence.)

Kalonymus Kalman Shapira

However, if we judge ourselves honesty, for better or worse, we know what is incumbent upon us to do, then the Merciful Judge will suspend judgment and give us time to make amends.
The man is taking a candid look at himself and asking himself certain questions. The proceedings of his own evaluation require that he first confronts and accepts his true feelings so as to gain a clear view of his merits and mistakes. He asks himself where he is standing with God.

This outlook is based on the prophet Jeremiah’s book.

You say, “I have been acquitted;
Surely, His anger has turned away from me.”
Lo, I will bring you to judgment
For saying, “I have not sinned.”

Jeremiah 2:25 (JPS)

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