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Daily Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Sunday, March 20, 2022  

Today’s Scripture Reading  |  Romans 2:1–11

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. (NRSV)

Judge not lest you be judged. Don’t judge a book by its cover. Aren’t you the pot calling the kettle black! Growing up, these were phrases I heard often from the lips of my grandmother. As I read the scripture for this devotion her gentle admonitions flooded my memory. 

Judging is part of human nature. To help us understand others’ behavior we attribute their action to their character. But these attributions are “snap judgements.” We don’t have the full set of circumstances that elicited the behavior we deem to judge. So when we judge, we cut off our path to understanding the whole situation and its whole truth.

When we judge we are also projecting ourselves. Earl Nightingale, the inspirational radio host of my grandmother’s day, said, “When you judge others, you do not define them; you define yourself.” The world is a mirror, and what you see, subconsciously, are the things you don’t like about yourself. And we judge ourselves very harshly. But if we go easier on ourselves, we will also find we become less judging of others. Practicing self-love will lead us to better loving and lesser judging of our brothers and sisters.

God of grace, remind us today and every day that you have judged us worthy of your love and salvation. Give us curiosity about our brothers and our sisters that we may seek to understand rather than judge and so grow together in Christ. Amen.

Written by Sarah Younger, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church

Reflection and prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church

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