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?
Yoo-hoo. Yeah you. That’s right, whoever you are Paul says, “I’m talking to you.” And to me. Likely, no matter who you are you squirm a bit under this indictment from Paul. I know I do. Judgment has a sneaky of way of creeping into my thoughts. It’s not something I’m proud of, nor do I feel entitled to serve as anyone’s judge but it happens and it needs to stop.
Judgement is harmful, not only to the ones to whom we cast judgement but also to ourselves. Its harmful to others as it’s often founded on our own fear, insecurities, or prejudices. Its harmful to us because like a spiritual cancer it grows and spreads affecting our whole self. Embedded within Paul’s question of ‘do you despise the riches of God’s kindness, forbearance, and patience’ is the implication that when we judge we despise these aspects of God’s character and thus judgement is harmful in our relationship with God.
Hear the invitation this Lent that within the goodness of God’s character extended to us is the call to repentance. Repentance from behaviors and choices which are harmful to others, ourselves, and our relationship with God. This Lent I’m choosing to fast and I’m choosing to fast from judgement in order that I may experience and delight in the fullness of God’s kindness, forbearance, and patience.
Dear God, grant me the wisdom and courage to set aside judgment that I may live fully as one who accepts and embraces the depth of your love for me and indeed all your creation. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Rev. Nicole Abdnour