Monday, December 8, 2014
Judgment through grace
"And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind and to things that should not be done. They were filled with every kind of wickedness...They know God's decree, that those who practice such things deserve to die...Therefore you have no excuse whoever you are, when you judge others; for in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself because you, the judge, are doing the very same things.". Romans 1:28-2:1 (NRSV).
"For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against you, you alone, have I sinned, and done what is evil in your sight...” Psalms 51:3
In the scripture above, we learn that it is by God's decree that our actions are condemned. When Christians, especially those who became Christians at a young age, look around and see the wicked acts committed by others, it can be hard to agree with the apostle Paul when he says that when we judge others, we are doing the same things. Paul provides a list of evils that was not included in the quotation above. When we read this list, we want to say, "Really? Me?" I am not a murderer and I am not a thief. Am not as bad as Paul seems to think I am."
However, we really are that bad, and it is the recognition of our own sin, not the sin of others, that allows grace into our lives. When we judge others, we recognize their sin but we do not see our own. Paul is telling us, in this scripture passage, that when we judge others, we are assuming the right to judge and that right is reserved only for God. When we judge, we commit idolatry—the first and foremost thing we are not supposed to do! We are making our own judgments more important to us than God is.