In a recent conversation, a courageous interviewer decided to ask Flloyd Mayweather about his history of domestic abuse. After Floyd dodged the first few questions like an expert fighter, the interviewer went for the direct jab, “The website Deadspin detailed seven physical assaults on five women that resulted in arrest or citation, are we supposed to believe all the women are lying including the incidents when there were witnesses like your own kids?” Floyd responded, “Everybody actually, everybody is entitled to their own opinion. When it is all said and done, only God can judge me.” It is the kind of thing that rightly makes one want to jump out of their seat and deliver a knock-out punch to the champ. How can he claim that he should not face any earthly justice for what he has done.
And yet, this is a very common idea in our culture. Most believe that everyone’s life should be free of any scrutiny by anyone else. “Only God can Judge me” is a common thought usually ushered in by others who try to coax the Son of God into their corner by saying, “Did not Jesus say, ‘Judge not?’” It is one of the few things that those way on the left of the political spectrum and those way on the right seem to agree on. They both think that respect for privacy means lack of judgment from others.
In one sense it is of course true that only God can judge us in the end. He is the only one who by His nature defines what is holy and what is evil. But let us not forget that God does His judging in three ways already now upon the earth. Yes, on the last day, each person will stand directly before God and be judged. But until then each person is judged in three ways. First, each person is judged as to right and wrong by their parents who have been given this responsibility in the estate of the family. (Proverbs 13:24b He who loves him [his son] is diligent to discipline him.) Secondly, each person is judged by the state which has been given by God to punish evil and reward good upon the earth. (1 Peter 2:13–14 Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good.) And lastly, each person is judged by their pastor who has been given spiritual oversight over them (Acts 20:28 Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.)
Yes, only God can judge you. But He does so through parents, rulers, and pastors. And this He does not because He loves to punish but because He desires that all would turn from sin and live. His discipline is for our eternal good.