“You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.” (Romans 2:1)
The most well-known Bible verse these days is probably “Do not judge, or you too will be judged” (Mt. 7:1). What people want to avoid is feeling condemned, but there is something else in play here.
The reason that we should not judge others is because whenever we condemn someone else, we also condemn ourselves because we do the same things. This is not only true in a general sense (“we are all sinners”) but also specifically, for we tend to see and loathe in others the sins that tend to be a problem for us.
But the solution is not to cast off all discernment and let everyone do whatever they want and not say anything because we are all sinners. That notion is ludicrous and will lead to much harm and regret. Just because I got caught in a trap does not mean that I should not warn people when they play near the same trap.
No, the solution is to peel back the layers of our onion-like soul before God and be totally transparent before him. He already knows our sin. When we confess our sins to God, we are not telling him something that he doesn’t already know. Confession is agreeing with God.
We agree with God that we are sinners through and through. But we can’t stop there because God does not stop there. For God the Father sent his Son, Jesus, to be our Saviour. And Jesus willingly went to the cross where he took all the judgment for all sin upon himself and paid the full consequence of that sin. Jesus was condemned. We were set free. As people who cling to the coattails of Jesus, God’s ultimate judgment of us is that we are his forgiven, beloved, beautiful children.
Let us rest in the gracious judgment of God. Let’s make this our core identity. Then when we tell someone that they are doing something wrong, our motivation will be love for them. If our love for others is so great that we are willing to suffer personally so they can have a better life with God, that is the kind of love that the Holy Spirit can use to change the trajectory of someone else’s life forever.
Dear Jesus, thank you for your love and forgiveness for me. Help me to be both wise and loving in my relationships with others. Help me to love other people like you love them. Amen.