St. John Lutheran Church
Come & See, Serve & Grow
Romans 2: 1 - 11 Therefore you have no excuse, whoever you are, when you judge others; for in passing judgement on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, are doing the very same things. You say, ‘We know that God’s judgement on those who do such things is in accordance with truth.’ Do you imagine, whoever you are, that when you judge those who do such things and yet do them yourself, you will escape the judgement of God?Or do you despise the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience? Do you not realize that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? But by your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath, when God’s righteous judgement will be revealed. For he will repay according to each one’s deeds: to those who by patiently doing good seek for glory and honour and immortality, he will give eternal life; while for those who are self-seeking and who obey not the truth but wickedness, there will be wrath and fury. There will be anguish and distress for everyone who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, but glory and honour and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. For God shows no partiality.
Human beings make judgments all the time. Sometimes in our society we want to simplistically say, "don't judge" or "who am I to judge". Yet in a culture that is devoured by individualism and relativism I don't believe that Paul wants us to never make judgments or to say anything and everything is permissible because it "isn't right to judge." That would be one extreme that we encounter at times.
The other extreme is an extreme Christians often get labeled with and that is being judgmental. We might tend to be overly concerned and outright condemning of someone's conduct. That end of the spectrum doesn't seem very Christian either.
Judgement is okay. Judgement keeps us alive at times, and it might help keep or put others on the right path.
When our judgement becomes sinful is when we put ourselves on the side of God's judgment.
In our sinfulness and brokenness when we judge we put ourselves on a higher platform than those who we are judging. This is why Paul humbles us in Romans 2. The Jew and the Greek, each and every one of us stand on the same ground. No one is higher or lower. In many ways none of us have a leg to stand on, particularly if each of us have to give an account of our own deeds.
Romans 2 reminds us that no matter how good, moral and faithful we are in the end we still need Jesus and we rely on God's grace and mercy to save us.
So when we do make our judgments let us look in the mirror first. Let us ponder God's grace bestowed upon us and see how that transforms our judgement, interaction, and compassion towards our neighbor.
Pastor Adam Sornchai