Straight to the Point
Sometimes, scripture can be difficult to comprehend, like trying to decipher some ancient code. Or it can feel like I’m simply not knowledgeable enough to figure out the full meaning of a passage. But this isn't true. And even if you've ever felt like this, you won't have that issue in the beginning of chapter two of Romans. Paul shoots us as straight - no complexities, no rabbit chase.
The Price of Judging
“For at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgement do the same things (Romans 2:1)”. Show of hands, how many of us have ever passed judgement on anyone? If we were all sitting in the same room, I would imagine that there wouldn’t be a single hand not in the air.
So is Paul simply trying to give us a talk to “humble” us and “put us in our places?” I don’t think so. But what’s his point? It matters if you judge someone because you will end up judging yourself for that very thing. We are not in charge of others' hearts because we can't truly see what is in others' hearts the way God can. If we believe our understanding should be the standard for everyone else, we will fail ourselves because we'll never get to grow past our current state. If we only look to our own understanding, we won't leave room for the Lord to grow us because we'll assume we already have all the knowledge we need. This is hard to grasp because we don't know the things we don't know, but God does and He will teach you through the Holy Spirit. This is why it's important to stay in a state a humility towards God and towards others because you don't know the circumstances that has that has caused someone to act the way they're acting.
God's Not In It For The Shame
“God’s kindness leads you toward repentance.” Paul isn’t writing to the Romans (or us) that we should stand in the mirror and shame ourselves. Rather Paul is pointing to the fact that our hearts should be moved towards repentance as we grow closer to God. If we are spending time with Him, giving Him an opportunity to show us His character, becoming more like Him as we learn from Him, we won’t continue to be moved toward judgement and condemnation of others, but rather we will be moved to repentance of those old habits. Let me be clear: this is more than just those fleeting, negative thoughts that you didn't mean to think about someone - this is about you desiring to be pure and not have those thoughts anymore. It's about the longing of your heart rather than the habits you're trying to break. As we allow God’s spirit to lead us, we move away from the things that breed comparison and enmity among our friends and family, and we begin to move towards a place of kindness and deeper love for them.
- Logan Johnson