Judge me, O Lord, according to my righteousness,
according to my integrity, O Most High.
Psalm 7:8b (NIV)
Being judged is not most peoples’ idea of a good time. In fact, we often do everything we can to avoid being judged. And we have found pretty effective ways of stopping judgment from other people. If we feel that someone is judging us in a less than favorable light, we just tell them that they are being “judgmental,” and they will usually stop. (Nobody wants to be considered judgmental!)
Part of the problem that we have with being judged is that it never seems to happen when we are going to show up in a good light; the judgment that most of us seem to receive is about those things that we fall short in. And so it’s natural to avoid being judged whenever we can.
David, in this Psalm, is being judged by Cush, a Benjamite, who has taken the side of the paranoid King Saul against David. But, even though Saul is sure that David is out to get him, and has spread this word throughout the palace, David protests that those charges are unfounded and untrue. He wasn’t out to get Saul, or even to get his job, even though it had been promised to him by God Himself. Instead, he had always worked hard for Saul, being faithful in every way, and always doing his best for him.
David turns his heart to the Lord, who knows his heart inside and out(see 1 Samuel 16:7). He declares his innocence to the Lord, and then asks the Lord to judge him according to his righteousness; according to his integrity. It strikes me that, for a lot of people, that is exactly the way that we DON’T want God to judge us. What we really want is for God to judge us according to our intentions or our hopes or even according to what we understand He wants us to do, even if we don’t actually do it. In other words, we don’t really want God to judge us at all, but if He does, we want Him to judge us in such a way that we come out smelling good (or at least acceptable). But God is a righteous judge, who according to His Word, will judge us according to our actions (see Matthew 16:27; Romans 2:6; Revelation 2:23, 20:12-13, 22:12), which show what is actually in our hearts.
We all will be judged time and time again in this world. Sometimes we will be judged fairly (whether we are seen as as good as we really are or as bad as we really are), and sometimes we will be judge unfairly. But when we are judged by God, we will be judged 100% fairly. Every sin will be brought to light, every place that we have fallen short of His righteous requirements will be known. And for the vast majority of us (probably for every one of us, but I don’t want to appear judgmental!) there is no way that any of the good things we have done will even show up as a minor blip compared to the ways in which we have failed to live up to God’s standards.
Of course, if we belong to Jesus our record of past sins has been totally erased; there is no longer any trace of the sins that we committed beforehand – the penalty for them has been paid in full by the blood of the Lamb. And if we have kept our record clean since that time, and have lived in such a way that we show by our actions that our hearts are right before Him, then we have nothing to fear from His judgment. In that case, we can actually pray with David, “Judge me, O Lord, according to my righteousness; according to my integrity, O Most High!”