What comes to mind when you hear the word “judge” or “justice” or “judgment”? I would like to focus on these three themes today as we read Romans 2.
“You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. 2 Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. 3 So when you, a mere human being, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? 4 Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?”
The first word “judge” brings many images and thoughts to mind. Based on your own standards, expectations, morals, values, upbringing, etc., you have an idea of how you like to lead your life or how you think the world should operate. Do you sometimes carry that over into criticizing how others lead their lives? Or in your mind do you think , “I would not have handled the situation that way”? “That is not the way to parent that unruly child!” “Wow, those clothes are not appropriate.” In today’s world of imagery and social media, we are flooded with messages by which to judge others, but we shouldn’t, because God is the ultimate judge. My friend Jan and I have this saying “stay in your lane”. We refer to this motto when we are talking about our kids, our friends and parenting. If the situation at hand doesn’t affect you or your child, don’t get involved or judge. If it does present harm to you or your child, obviously, there is a time to jump in, but in general, it’s none of your business. Easy to say, sometimes hard to do.
The second word that comes to mind in reading this chapter is “justice”. Justice in our world today is carried out through our legal system. Unfortunately, I had a very rocky divorce over ten years ago (and you may be judging me know by writing about it here??). Multiple hours spent in the McLean Country Law & Justice Center, with the outcome of my life and my kids’ lives being determined by a judge. Was I capable enough to be given sole custody of my kids? Which holidays was I “assigned”? How much money would I be given or would I have to pay? It was pure torture. I can remember daydreaming in the courtroom thinking “here is this judge deciding our outcome without knowing the situation, me as a person/parent or my children. This is absurd. And how many times each day does this judge get to decide the fate of others and doesn’t know them either?”
However, I consoled myself thinking God truly decides in the end. He is the ultimate judge. His judgment is what matters. Justice will be served. The best part is that he knows us. He knows our thoughts, words, and deeds. His vote is the one that counts. It is based on the truth. He gives us the gift of eternal life if we choose to take the opportunity and strive for it.
5 But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. 6 God “will repay each person according to what they have done.”[a] 7 To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life.
Consider the three words and the words written in Romans 2. How can we all live a better earthly life and not judge others? Are you upholding the laws? Are you upholding what the Bible says or how it suggests we act? Do you show repentance for your sins and ask for forgiveness? Do you believe? How will you be judged? I hope to continue to do better each day seeking his glory, honor and immortality.