When I was elected to the Circuit Court bench in 1996, I was asked several times how, as a Christian, I could be a judge when the Bible says “do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn and you will not be condemned.” (Luke 7: 37 NSRV) My answer then and now is that I was not judging my fellow man for failure to obey God’s laws but was judging humans for violation of the laws enacted by man so that we could live together in peace and harmony. I was not making moral judgments for violation of biblical teachings. That is for the Lord to do. Granted, many of God’s teachings are the same as man’s laws, such as the prohibition against killing or stealing. Nonetheless, my job was to make judgments of human violations of man-made laws that enable us to live among each other on earth peacefully without violence and hate. I often added that I could not be a judge if I were not a Christian. My Christian beliefs made it possible for me to enforce man’s laws with compassion and without moral judgment.
My guide to being a judge is found in Leviticus 19:15 (NRSV) where the Lord spoke to Moses saying: “You shall not render an unjust judgment; you shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great: with justice you shall judge your neighbor.” This was my objective, leaving moral judgment in the hands of the Lord.
Prayer: Lord help me to fairly and justly judge my fellow humans for transgressions of laws enacted by man to enable us to live together peacefully, and not to condemn him for conduct that violates your laws, and forgive me when I fail to live up to this creed. Amen.