Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?
— Romans 2:1–4
Can you think of a time when you felt ridiculed, judged or shamed by someone else?
It seems that those who judge us have a way of distilling complex issues down to easy answers. And when it happens to us, we are left feeling shame, anger and loneliness, none of which are godly responses. Human judgment has never led someone to Christ. In fact, it pushes them further away. You recognize it in words like, “in my opinion…,” “it’s obvious that…,” “you should probably…” Shame is terrible, because it makes us feel that we are alone.
They do it for one simple reason: distraction. They compartmentalize sin so they are distracted from the ugliness of their own struggles. “Lying is not as bad as murder.” “Porn is not as bad heroin.” “I yell at my wife, but at least I don’t beat her.”
The accuser condemns someone’s divorce while ignoring their own sexual sin. They condemn someone’s abortion while ignoring their own adultery. They condemn someone’s sexuality while ignoring their own pride. When this happens, two things are created: a victim (where there doesn’t have to be one) and worse, a victor (where there are no winners). The victim is left hopeless, isolated feeling the weight and shame of their sin (and not knowing what to do about it), and the victor gets to walk away feeling grateful and superior, thinking, “I may not be perfect, but at least I don’t struggle with that.”
Can you think of a time when you have been the accuser? Be honest, really think. Ask God to reveal this to you.
You may be saying to yourself right now, ”Of course I have. Thank God for grace. Thank God for Christ!” But before you presume on the richness, kindness and forbearance of God and let yourself off the hook, what if we, just for a moment, sit under the hard truth of our brokenness? What if we allow ourselves, just for a moment, to let it break our hearts the way it breaks Christ’s?
Take a risk with me right now. Peel back the layers and stand bare before God. Imagine yourself in his presence naked. He sees every imperfection, every struggle, even the ones you think you have under control. He sees what you are, who you are, where you have been and what you have done. It breaks his heart. Feel that.
But now see also that he loves you. See now that, though he has every reason to, he does not turn away from you. Instead, he looks at you and says, “It breaks my heart to see you this way, but I will not leave you. I love you, and I will give everything to make you alive again.” Sit in that moment. Feel it.
Realize that even now, God is continually saving you because you continually need saving. Remember that his kindness to us is meant to lead us to repentance.
Don’t be in a hurry, take as long as you need to be in His presence and love. Tell him everything on your mind before you rush off. He loves spending time with you.
My prayer is that today we would offer others the same comfort we have received. (1 Corinthians 1:3–4)
I’ve included some scriptures for you to meditate on today. Choose one that speaks to you, and write it on a card, carry it with you. And if you find your mind wandering, pull it out, read it, and let it bring you back to this moment.
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
— Romans 5:6–8
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved
— Ephesians 2:4–5
And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.
— John 14:16–18
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
— 2 Corinthians 5:21
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
— Galatians 2:20