March 29th

Criticism, Pride and Judgment

1You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. 2Now we know that God's judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. 3So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God's judgment? 4Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness leads you toward repentance?  5But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God's wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. 6God "will give to each person according to what he has done." 7To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. 8But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. 9There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; 10but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 11For God does not show favoritism.  Romans 2:1-11 NIV 

This passage deals with the ugly sin of hypocrisy in the context of judging others.  Part of our sin nature is to think we are better than other people.  If religious pride is involved, it makes things even worse, since we are associating God’s name with our pride.  Perhaps many people have turned away from Jesus because of the hypocrisy of some of his followers.  What a shame! 

Hypocrisy in judging others is a sneaky sin that can creep in to our lives undetected. Often it masquerades as criticism.  This has been a problem area for me during my walk with Jesus.  I have caught myself criticizing people many times.  Some examples that come to mind right off the bat:

Each time I spoke negatively about the persons involved, I was passing my judgment about them and the situation.  I felt justified in saying those things, but I was not.  The above scripture points out that God is the only one qualified to judge people.  He is qualified because he bases everything on truth.  He never deviates from the truth and he always administers perfect justice. When we criticize and judge others, we are basically trying to usurp God’s role as judge.  Because we are imperfect, our perception of truth is tainted by our sin, and therefore, we are disqualified from judging. 

The source of hypocrisy is a stubborn and unrepentant heart, which both stem from pride.  The problem with pride is that it repels God from us.  James wrote, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6 NIV).  When we set ourselves in our ways and will not yield to God’s correction, we “store up” for ourselves God’s wrath. 

The idea of storing up wrath relates to the law of sowing and reaping.  God as a righteous judge will give to each person according to what he has done (6).  If we have persisted in doing good, God will give us eternal life, glory, honor and peace.  If we have cultivated selfish ambition,  rejected the truth and followed evil, we will experience God’s “wrath and anger.”   

Questions for further thought:

Prayer: 

“Father in heaven, I praise your holy and righteous name.  I confess that I have sinned by pride and have judged others in the following ways:__________ (list).  Please forgive me for trying to steal your role as Judge.  You are the only one qualified to judge.  I commit myself today to persist in doing good for your glory and honor.  Thank you, Jesus, for bearing all the wrath due to me for my sin.  Please help me to control my tongue and to use it to encourage, uplift and pray for others.  Thank you, Lord.  I thank you and praise you now and forever! Amen.”