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Romans 2:1-16, God's Principles of Judgment

Narrative Lectionary Key Verse for Today

Do you imagine, whoever you are, that when you judge those who do such things and yet do them yourself, you will escape the judgment of God?
— Romans 2:3

NL Daily Devotion for Tuesday, September 4, 2018

judging others

by Dr. Kimberly Leetch, Clergy Stuff

I wonder why it is so easy to judge others, yet so difficult to recognize when we are doing so? Everyone on the road is a terrible driver. Everybody standing in line at the grocery store is too slow. That woman is too fat. That man is too black. That rich kid is too snooty. That poor slob is too uncouth.

But criticize me, and watch out -- the wrath you will face! I am perfect just the way I am. I would never do the things those people do. I would make a way better boss than mine. I parent my kids much better than they do.

Obviously, when laid out like this, it seems ridiculous. But all of us are guilty of it. We all judge. (Yes, you do.) And we all hate to be judged. Our very brains are wired to categorize, to assess, to sort out and make meaning of things.

But that doesn't mean we are doomed to act on our judgments. We have the capacity to challenge our own assumptions and beliefs. We have it in us to shift our perspectives and to see things differently. Sometimes the first step is simply to recognize we are judging constantly. And then we can tell ourselves different stories about what we observe and we can make different conclusions from the data we receive.

Judging is inevitable. How we respond to our own judgment is within our control.

Narrative Lectionary Daily Reading:

Romans 2:1-16

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. You say, “We know that God’s judgment on those who do such things is in accordance with truth.” Do you imagine, whoever you are, that when you judge those who do such things and yet do them yourself, you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you despise the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience? Do you not realize that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? But by your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath, when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. For he will repay according to each one’s deeds: to those who by patiently doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; while for those who are self-seeking and who obey not the truth but wickedness, there will be wrath and fury. There will be anguish and distress for everyone who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. For God shows no partiality. All who have sinned apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law. For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but the doers of the law who will be justified. When Gentiles, who do not possess the law, do instinctively what the law requires, these, though not having the law, are a law to themselves. They show that what the law requires is written on their hearts, to which their own conscience also bears witness; and their conflicting thoughts will accuse or perhaps excuse them on the day when, according to my gospel, God, through Jesus Christ, will judge the secret thoughts of all.

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