So every single one of you who judge others is without any excuse. You condemn yourself when you judge another person because the one who is judging is doing the same things. 2 We know that God’s judgment agrees with the truth, and his judgment is against those who do these kinds of things. 3 If you judge those who do these kinds of things while you do the same things yourself, think about this: Do you believe that you will escape God’s judgment? 4 Or do you have contempt for the riches of God’s generosity, tolerance, and patience? Don’t you realize that God’s kindness is supposed to lead you to change your heart and life? 5 You are storing up wrath for yourself because of your stubbornness and your heart that refuses to change. God’s just judgment will be revealed on the day of wrath. 6 God will repay everyone based on their works.7 On the one hand, he will give eternal life to those who look for glory, honor, and immortality based on their patient good work. 8 But on the other hand, there will be wrath and anger for those who obey wickedness instead of the truth because they are acting out of selfishness and disobedience. 9 There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. 10 But there will be glory, honor, and peace for everyone who does what is good, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. 11 God does not have favorites.
We all judge others, and we judge others for the exact same behaviors we do, except when we do it, it’s okay. If you don’t believe this, think about driving. We’ve all run a red light, cut someone off, or not let someone merge into our lane, because we’re right, and they’re wrong by trying to cut the line. We drive distracted and above the speed limit. When others do these things we feel self righteous and judge their behavior, while we’re oblivious to our own hypocrisy. We make excuses for our own behavior by saying, “We all make mistakes.” But our exceedingly kind and patient God wants to hear our repentance, not our excuses.
This is one of those texts that makes us really uneasy, because deep down we know we’re hypocrites too. Paul wrote this because the Jewish converts to Christianity and the Greek (pagan) converts are judging each other, while making excuses for themselves. The Greek converts know they are sinning, and they have no excuse for their behavior, they know better. The Jews think the law protects them from God’s righteous judgement, because they are living a righteous life, so they feel they can judge the pagan converts for living immoral lives. Paul says the Jewish converts are deluding themselves for no one can keep the law perfectly.
So both sides are wrong, whether we live an unrighteous life or a self righteous life, we’ve all sinned, and we won’t escape judgement. Judging others is a sin because it excludes others, and as followers of Jesus we are called to love our neighbor.
Judging others makes us forget that we are all God’s children, that none of us is more worthy, or less sinful; as Paul says, “God does not have favorites.“
By Jeneene Reduker
For Pondering & Prayer
We will all someday stand before God’s judgement. Thanks be to God, through God’s grace and the sacrifice of Jesus dying for our sins on the cross, we have received the promise of eternal life and are being transformed by the Holy Spirit into faithful followers of Christ. As we follow Jesus we are reshaped to avoid sin in our lives. We need to be watchful that we don’t judge others and then make excuses for our same behavior. We need to sit in God’s presence and ask for forgiveness when we fail, and ask God to make our hypocrisy known to us, in the moment we are doing it, so we can stop. God doesn’t want our excuses, but for us to love others.
We are all God’s children. Who are you judging? Is it a person, or a certain group? How does your judging exclude that person or group? What are your excuses?
Ask God for forgiveness and help.
Prayer: Holy God, we are always judging others and making excuses. Heal our sin and hypocrisy that create barriers to our loving others as Jesus did, which prevents others from seeing your love through us. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen.