To be completely transparent, I have not read the entire bible yet. I am currently only on day 205 of a Bible In One Year reading plan, which my great friend Khalif inspired me to start! Shoutout to the people who bring you closer to Jesus! I still have a great deal to learn, but writing about this verse has been on my mind lately. Drumroll, please! I will be discussing Romans 2:1 today. Below I have this verse listed in the New International Version (NIV) and the Amplified Bible (AMP) translations.
Romans 2:1 (NIV)
1You, 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 (AMP)
1Therefore you have no excuse or justification, every one of you who [hypocritically] judges and condemns others; for in passing judgment on another person, you condemn yourself, because you who judge [from a position of arrogance or self-righteousness] are habitually practicing the very same things [which you denounce].
In other words, do not throw stones if you live in a house of glass. We live in a world where judgment seems to be as natural as the necessity for water. And if I am being honest, I do not believe there is one person on this planet who does not live inside a house of glass or at least has a glass room or two inside their home. What I have learned from reading the bible is that every living being on this planet is imperfect. We all fall short in some aspects of our lives, but that does not mean we are unworthy of love or incapable of fulfilling the purpose bestowed upon our lives.
The only person to ever walk this planet who did not fall short is my best friend Jesus, and because of his sacrifice, we are saved and loved by grace, the undeserved, unconditional love of God. God extends his unconditional love, forgiveness, and respect to us daily. Therefore, he desires that we do the same for our neighbors no matter their lifestyle or belief systems. If we look back through the life of Jesus, he socialized with the people whom the "church" condemned. He extended love and kindness to people deemed undeserving and hopeless. Even as he hung on the cross dying, even as soldiers were gambling for his clothes, Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” I believe what I am trying to say is that it is not our responsibility or right to judge or persecute. It is our responsibility to extend God’s grace to those who surround us in the same way Jesus does for us.
Ephesians 4:2-3 (NLV) & 31-32 (TPT)
2 Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. 3 Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.
31 Lay aside bitter words, temper tantrums, revenge, profanity, and insults. 32 But instead, be kind and affectionate toward one another. Has God graciously forgiven you? Then graciously forgive one another in the depths of Christ’s love.
With all that being said, I will be the first to admit that I live in a house of glass. To be completely transparent, I am pretty sure my entire existence is created of glass. I fall short of God's glory daily. I curse. I am fearful of many things outside of the Lord, and I find too much comfort in good food and social media. The list goes on and on and on and on. Ever since the day I can remember, I have been judged and criticized. As a young girl, I vowed I would never make another person feel the pain and unworthiness people have made me feel. And I cannot even tell you how many times I failed to live this vow. I failed many times, mostly when it comes to the people who hurt others (as if I have never hurt anyone) or when I find myself trapped in the cycle of comparison. I handed judgments to people as if I were Oprah Winfrey handing out cars to her audience members. For the past several years, I have made conscious decisions to control my thoughts and filter out the negativity I sometimes have in my heart.
Now, I ask myself why I feel the need to judge. I meditate on this question and discover my judgments usually derive from insecurity, anger, or brokenness. Then, I realize I am perceiving a person, a decision, a mistake, an action through tunnel vision. I start to notice most of us only see the world through the lens through which we experience it, and we pass judgment based on that perspective. There is such a lack of effort to listen without becoming defensive. To accept people, even if we may not completely understand them. To respect them regardless of where they are in life, and to always extend kindness and generosity. To try to see things from all perspectives instead of our own. To speak the truth in love instead of passing hypocritical judgments. This is how God differs from us and why I believe he is so capable of love and fair judgment. God sees everything. He knows our hearts and motives.
1 Samuel 16:7(NLT)
7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
It is safe to say, my house of glass has many cracks in it. They act as daily reminders of how far I have come and where I never want to return. If you are currently struggling with a heavy, judgmental heart, I think the most valuable thing you can do is engage in introspection. Discover where your judgment derives from and work on healing those places. By no means am I saying this is an easy process. However, I promise God will meet you along the way, and your efforts to express truth through love and respect, instead of harsh judgments, will lead to a life of peace and spiritual freedom.
Leave the condemnation and damnation to God. It is not our place to express either.
In the end, we will all be judged fairly by the one who has the knowledge to do so.
1 Corinthians 4:5 (NLT)
5 So resist the temptation to pronounce premature judgment on anything before the appointed time when all will be fully revealed. Instead, wait until the Lord makes his appearance, for he will bring all that is hidden in darkness to light and unveil every secret motive of everyone’s heart. Then, when the whole truth is known, each will receive praise from God.
July 27, 2019