But if we judged ourselves, we would not come under judgment. —1 Corinthians 11:31
This verse is important for Christian living. Three things lie behind this verse. The first is undiscovered sin. God focuses on sin that has not been brought to your attention. It has always been there, but, for some reason, you did not realize it.
For years I did not see it, but I was such a murmurer and such a complainer. I am sure everyone else who knew me saw it, because others always see our faults! We just cannot see them in ourselves. But there came a time when, thank God, He just grabbed me and showed me.
But why was I not aware of that sin before? The simple answer is that I was not listening to God. I was not spiritual enough to recognize it. It is no coincidence that great spirituality always carries with it a great sense of sin.
The second is unconfessed sin. Why does anybody confess sin? It is because we are ashamed. We can confess sin because we are truly sorry, and when we are sorry we turn from it. That does not mean we will be perfect, but we will loathe ourselves for our imperfection and try by the grace of God not to repeat it.
The third point is unrestituted sin, which is when you refuse to make things right. So why would you make restitution? There are two simple reasons to do so. First, you will give another person peace. The second reason is that you will get peace yourself by doing it. Not all confessed sin requires this, of course, but there comes a time when you have no choice but to make things right with a fellow Christian. And when you make restitution, it will give him peace, and you will be at peace.
If you deal with the sin now, it will not show up then. Sweep it under the carpet now, and it will come out then.
Excerpted from When God Says "Well Done!" (Christian Focus Publications Ltd., 1993).