It is not the individuals who commend themselves who are approved, but the person the Lord commends. 2 Corinthians 10:18
Self-condemnation and self-commendation are both unwise. When we condemn ourselves, we imply that Jesus’ death for us was inadequate. But God raised him from the dead to prove that it was. So if God does not condemn those who are united by faith to Christ, who are we to contradict him? Confession and repentance are the appropriate responses to any feeling of guilt we might experience. Then God is faithful to Christ’s sacrifice and righteous when he forgives us. When we commend ourselves, we compare ourselves to others, judge and disapprove of what we see, and applaud ourselves as being superior. But since we don’t know another person’s heart, we can only discriminate based on outward appearances. Determining someone’s adequacy this way risks gross misunderstanding; for “all of our ways seem right in our own opinion, but the Eternal evaluates our motives.” Even if we only “measure ourselves by ourselves and compare ourselves with ourselves, we lack understanding.” Is there any appropriate way we can commend ourselves without patting ourselves on the back? Yes. Like Paul and his team, we can pour ourselves out in love for the cause of Christ and the benefit of everyone around us. Then the Lord will make it clear that he approves of us and stands together with us as he makes us adequate for the tasks before us.
Discerning God, keep me safe from these two self-inflicted wounds so I may experience your commendation. Amen.