So every single one of you who judge others is without any excuse. You condemn yourself when you judge another person because the one who is judging is doing the same things. We know that God’s judgment agrees with the truth, and his judgment is against those who do these kinds of things. If you judge those who do these kinds of things while you do the same things yourself, think about this: Do you believe that you will escape God’s judgment? Or do you have contempt for the riches of God’s generosity, tolerance, and patience? Don’t you realize that God’s kindness is supposed to lead you to change your heart and life? You are storing up wrath for yourself because of your stubbornness and your heart that refuses to change. God’s just judgment will be revealed on the day of wrath. God will repay everyone based on their works. On the one hand, he will give eternal life to those who look for glory, honor, and immortality based on their patient good work. But on the other hand, there will be wrath and anger for those who obey wickedness instead of the truth because they are acting out of selfishness and disobedience. There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. But there will be glory, honor, and peace for everyone who does what is good, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. God does not have favorites.
Those who have sinned outside the Law will also die outside the Law, and those who have sinned under the Law will be judged by the Law. It isn’t the ones who hear the Law who are righteous in God’s eyes. It is the ones who do what the Law says who will be treated as righteous. Gentiles don’t have the Law. But when they instinctively do what the Law requires they are a Law in themselves, though they don’t have the Law. They show the proof of the Law written on their hearts, and their consciences affirm it. Their conflicting thoughts will accuse them, or even make a defense for them, on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the hidden truth about human beings through Christ Jesus. (Romans 2:1-16 CEB)
This passage asks three questions and anytime the Bible asks questions, rest assured, God is looking for some serious “class participation.” So, sit up in your seat and have a go at these questions with me.
“If you judge those who do these kinds of things while you do the same things yourself, think about this: Do you believe that you will escape God’s judgment?” (vs.3)
Well, my mind jumps to answer “Of course not,” but when I stop to truly think this question over, apparently at times I must be saying “Yes,” or else I would surely become a far less judgmental person!
“Do you have contempt for the riches of God’s generosity, tolerance, and patience?” (vs.4a)
Again, my “shoot-from-the-hip answer is “No way;” however, after reflection, I know full well that when I deny God’s mercy for someone else, I have become blind to his leading me to change my own ways into more of the likeness of his own – kindness!
I’m busted – on both charges! And so are you.
Which leads us to the third question:
“Don’t you realize that God’s kindness is supposed to lead you to change your heart and life?” (vs.4b)
Father God in heaven, I all too often and too easily forget that the way I look at and deal with others is a reflection on riches of your goodness. As you are kind, I must be kind. As you are tolerant, I must be tolerant. As I crave your patience with me, help me to be quite patient with others. In Jesus’ name, help me when I see others to see you, to the end that that I might act more in ways becoming of you. Amen.