Read 1 Corinthians 4:1-5
1 So look at Apollos and me as mere servants of Christ who have been put in charge of explaining God’s mysteries. 2 Now, a person who is put in charge as a manager must be faithful. 3 As for me, it matters very little how I might be evaluated by you or by any human authority. I don’t even trust my own judgment on this point. 4 My conscience is clear, but that doesn’t prove I’m right. It is the Lord himself who will examine me and decide.
5 So don’t make judgments about anyone ahead of time—before the Lord returns. For he will bring our darkest secrets to light and will reveal our private motives. Then God will give to each one whatever praise is due. (NLT)
Many of us worry too much about what others think of us. We spend much time and effort trying to conform to others’ expectations of us. Our lives are thus shaped, or distorted, by trying to please others. We give up simply seeking to be our true, best selves and instead try to be the ‘self’ others want to see in us.
Of course we might legitimately try not to offend others; we might appropriately consider our effect on others. We are not islands but rather parts of the continent of humanity. But the problem comes when we make their opinions and expectations the primary motivator of what we say and what we do.
Paul reminds us that he doesn’t put too much weight on all that. Nor does he rely on his own estimation of himself. We might not be the best evaluators of our lives. Just as others may unduly flatter us or unfairly criticise us, we might be too easy on ourselves or too harsh on ourselves. We have to beware of our harsh critics and our admiring fan clubs.
In the end, it is God’s opinion that counts. That might seem a problem in that God is holy and perfect. However, this God offers grace and mercy through Jesus. He knows us thoroughly yet loves us utterly. My judge is also my Saviour.