“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” (James 1:2-4 NLT)
James says that to be tested is a good thing. That might be too much of a stretch for some people. But he does go on to add that it is not God who is tempting us, that’s down to our own desires.
If we can resist those temptations, then God will reward us.
My faith was tested yesterday in a “conversation” I had on Twitter. An atheist friend of mine said that she had been told she was being judged. Which is, of course, another form of testing. Who has the right to judge?
Good question and I turned to the writings of Paul in his letter to Timothy. But I missed the point. As usual. I failed to see the bigger picture.
Only God can judge. And he will do that on Judgement Day.
But here is James saying that we test ourselves. Are the two things irreconcilable? I don’t think so.
I think the point is this: whoever told my friend that she was being judged is wrong. Or mistaken. Or misguided perhaps. We humans judge each other. We do it daily without even realising it. But these judgements don’t matter to God. He will wipe our slates clean when we are called.
And the testing will be at an end. The temptations will fade away like morning mist because we will want for nothing. But until that day we will continue to face our tests.
And one of those is knowing how to respond when we are told that we are being judged.
The response could be something like this…
You say I am being judged, and I am. By you. But that only matters to me if I accept that you, as a fellow failed human, have authority over me. But you do not. I am responsible for my own failings, just as you are responsible for yours.
You may call it “Judgement Day”, or not, depending on your faith. But on that day we may have to justify our actions and our treatment of others.
I know I am not perfect, and that’s fine. I embrace that and I move on.
Can you say the same?