Author’s note: I am switching things up a bit in that most of my post is audio and the words are my notes that I used to prompt myself. In my speaking I have decided to write out matters of introduction, then allow the Spirit to lead my speech. I would love to hear any feedback on how that went.
Today we are going to look at two teachings, one from the Sermon on the Mount and one from Paul’s letter to the Romans. One of the things I love about studying the scriptures is that when done prayerfully I pick up on themes and connections that I would normally miss and today we are going to talk about judgment. I am not talking about decision making here, but about passing judgment on how somebody else missed the mark. Being an armchair quarterback for someone else’s life usually doesn’t go over well. Jesus just finished cautioning his disciples on not putting up a pious front in public to appear more holy and now he takes them one step further down the path of self-examination.
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” Matthew 7:1-5
Paul in the beginning of Romans runs down a long list of the specks and planks he saw active through his travels in the Roman Empire, especially among those who ruled, speaking of how the idolatry he witnessed led to all kinds of debauchery, lust, and greed. After running down the laundry list of what ways people missed the mark when their aim was on something other than God, he addresses the Christians living in the heart of the fully corrupt empire with these words:
Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.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. Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. 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? 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? Romans 1:28-2:4
- The danger of what appears to be true about someone else. (Story about friend.)
- Work on our issues first, because often our issues cloud our perception and distort our vision.
- The rebound effect of judgment.
- Kindness and not judgment leads to repentance.