It isn’t often that you hear Jesus speaking harshly. It isn’t often that you hear the Bible talking about a sin as inexcusable. But that is exactly how the Bible refers to a certain sin – one that we all do a lot more than we realize.
"Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things… And do you think this, O man, you who judge those practicing such things, and doing the same, that you will escape the judgment of God?" (Romans 2:1-3)
Ouch! Tough words there. Where did that come from? Where’s all the love and forgiveness and mercy and grace and stuff like that? Why use a word like “inexcusable” to describe a sin which, if we’re honest, we all do on a daily basis?
That is the question that I have been trying to answer for a week. This passage came to me at the start of my family vacation last week and I always feel like God speaks loudest to me while on vacation (this should be an excuse for me to take more of them right?).
When I first read this passage, I didn’t understand why God made such a big deal out of judging. Let’s be honest – we don’t really think of judging others as a big sin. It seems to be a victimless crime; nobody gets hurt in the process. Others sins – like stealing or lying or adultery – cause damage to others in tangible ways. But judging doesn’t. So why then it is so inexcusable?
Here’s why: because when you judge others, you aren’t really just judging them…YOU ARE JUDGING GOD!
Why do I say that? The Bible makes it abundantly clear that we are all sinners.
“There is none righteous, no, not one; (Romans 3:10)
“There is none who does good, no, not one.” (Romans 3:12)
“All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23)
If we believe these verses are true (and they are true whether you believe them or not), then we must admit that they apply to us as well. We are equally not righteous and equally not good and fall equally short of the glory of God as everyone else. AS EVERYONE ELSE!
But it doesn’t seem like that does it? It seems like I am better than __________ (fill in the blank with whoever you want here). It seems like he is mean and I am nice. He is undisciplined and I am not. He is selfish and I am kind. He is inconsiderate and I am conscious of the needs of others. It sure does seem like that doesn’t it?
But the truth is that you are just as bad as that other person that you are judging. You both started off the same way. The only difference is that you may have received grace in an area where he/she hasn’t yet. You would be equally as selfish or annoying or rude if you hadn’t received the grace of God, wouldn’t you? Or do you think that you just naturally a nice person on your own?
You see, when you judge another, you actually judge God. That person cannot change on their own without the power and grace of God. And maybe God – in His infinite wisdom – just hasn’t poured that particular grace upon that person yet. I am sure He has a plan and He is working on it, but He just hasn’t gotten there yet.
Are you going to judge Him for that?
When we judge others, we judge God. We put ourselves in God’s place and say “this person should be better at this by now” or “this person should have stopped this by now.” Who can say that except God Himself – the only One who knows the truth about what each one has been given and what each one has received.
Don’t think for one second that you would be who you are today without the grace of God. If you think that, then you are in for a rude awakening if God were to ever pull some of that grace back from you. You’ll discover that you are no better than anyone else. You have the same faults and the same weaknesses as everyone else, and it’s only by the grace of God that you have been able to overcome some of them.
So three takeaways from today’s message:
1. Thank God for the grace He has given you. When you see others with weaknesses that you don’t have, don’t judge them but rather first thank God that He has given you grace in that area.
2. Avoid judging anyone for the rest of today. Just one day. Try your best. Avoid judging your co-workers, your friends, the people you see on the subway, the waiter in the restaurant, etc. You’ll be shocked when you see how many people you are judging without even realizing it on a daily basis.
3. Repent for your judging attitude and spirit. Ask God to forgive you and to help you become a less judging person.
If you study the gospel accounts of our Lord Jesus Christ, you’ll notice that He never judged sinners or people with weaknesses. He judged those who judged the sinners and the people with weaknesses.
Let me say that again: Jesus didn’t judge sinners. He judged those who judged sinners. What are you going to do about that?
For discussion: what can we do to avoid judging others?