1So 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?
This text hit me rather hard. There are a few things in my life that just seem to be ongoing issues that I just can’t seem to move past, and every time I think about them, I am angry, sometimes very angry. One of them that really may seem ridiculous is a church in our area. A few years ago, I worked with a child whose family went to this church. During the pandemic, the church always had in person services and in the beginning of the pandemic 55 people got sick from one service. The grandmother of the child I worked with felt bad for me apparently, so she gave me a tract and wrote me a note about how the vaccine was going to kill me. Recently that church spent $70,000 to erect the largest cross in PA in their front lawn. I drive by it frequently, and I become angry just thinking about how that money could have been used in our rather poor rural county. I have been tempted to write an email to them, but I have not done it. Still, it angers me and obviously I am judging this congregation every time I drive by or think about it.
As Joe said in his sermon on Sunday, I don’t have a great deal of information but of course I have enough to feel like I want nothing to do with that church or other members of the congregation. According to this passage, I am not being who I should be as a follower of Christ. Am I showing contempt for the riches of God’s tolerance and patience by being intolerant and impatient with what I perceive as a waste of money and ridiculous procedures in dealing with a pandemic? Do I not waste money that I could be giving to those in need in the community? Verse 4 goes on to say, “Don’t you realize that God’s kindness is supposed to lead to change your heart and life?” As I said in a previous devotion, I can definitely be argumentative and believe my position is correct, but am I being the kind, loving person I profess to want to be? Or am I in fact being judgmental of another person and a whole congregation of people because of one person who wrote me a note and because they put a giant cross up in their yard? Maybe that is a way to bring people to God – only time and God will tell. In the meantime, I think I need to work on not muttering or thinking how irritating it is every time I drive past!
by Janet Waryck
For Pondering & Prayer
What do we need to look at more closely in our lives that may seem perfectly reasonable to us in terms of judging others, but maybe we just need to take a step back and use kindness to lead us?
Prayer: God of kindness, please lead us to change our hearts and lives to judge less and be more patient and kinder in our approach. Help us to follow your lead when we come into contact with others in our lives. Amen.