“You have been weighed in the balances, and found wanting,” Daniel informed Belshazzar. The significance of this depends on who was doing the weighing. I have felt myself considered short in many different ways, but only once do I remember feeling I had been found fundamentally lacking righteousness. I will use that word, anyway; theologians might tell me there is some other term for the lack of which you will be rejected.
It may have all been in my head, in any case, but I remember part of my reaction to this perceived judgement was feeling that it was rather absurd. I felt that there was no point in weighing my righteousness at all, so surely would I always come up wanting, and at the same time so sure that the righteousness of Christ more than abounded on my behalf; a grain from that storehouse would swing the scale and never be missed.
In this I mean true righteousness, not good morals or good manners. The reason this has come to mind is that I am often found chasing a false sense of piety. I remember when a genial older fellow was telling me, before a church service, how back in the day they would disregard instructions to run only the quantity needed of some odd part, and instead run a full production lot, hiding the balance until someday it was needed urgently (in less time than the part could be built). I was scandalized–partly because a fair number of my problems involve accuracy of inventory, but partly just because he had confessed to such disregard for the rules while inside a church.
This is of course execrable reverence of a building; it’s a sentiment of pure hypocrisy. But this is not the only time I have found myself finely guaging whether someone has kept an appropriate appearance of righteouness while in a church environment, or with other believers who might know how one is supposed to behave. It seems I may be the most poisonous viper in the whole brood!
I made a very sarcastic mental note when I heard the person who had prayed “Lord, send us people to love” recounting how the selfsame person had dealt with a drunk person on their property, a disorderly and ill-mannered drunk but not violent. The drunk was dealt with indignantly, and the police had nearly been summoned just to make sure the offender was properly chastened. Well, perhaps this is love, since love is not all about treating people sweetly. But I logged it as a dire hypocrisy.
When I think of my faults I cringe to remember how meticulously I have catalogued others’. I have half a mind to unsay some of the things I have earlier said about the Christians I am meeting with. But I knew I would when I wrote them. Those things were not said dishonestly, but I knew I would want to sweep them away and cover them up if I got friendly with the people. That’s part of the reason I wrote what I thought at the time, so later when I wanted to play partisan and whitewash false piety over everything my own words would be there to rebuke me.
“Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; fo you who judge practice the same thing.” But this does not make an end to all right and wrong. Paul judged many things in his various epistles. Ending all judgment means silencing all truth. To the Christian judgement is not a right to be exercised at one’s own preorgative; it is a responsiblity, a work to be performed for the purposes of another. God himself will judge, and he will make known to his servants when they should declare his judgement.