Romans 2:1-4

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, February 9, 2015 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

“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. Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. So when you, a mere human being, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?” (Romans 2:1-4)

This passage essentially starts out with the word “therefore,” which makes us ask the question of what is the therefore there for. We need to look at the context for that. In this case, the “therefore” takes us all the way back to Romans 1:18-20. That passage talks about how we’re all without excuse for knowing God; He has revealed Himself to every single person. (See this blog post for more on that.) From there, Paul went on to talk about the sinfulness of humankind, in spite of that fact that we should all know God.

Since we have no excuse for not knowing God and because we as humans are a sinful people, we need to be careful how we judge others. When we condemn others for what we see them doing, in reality we’re condemning ourselves. Why is that?

Here’s a made up situation to help demonstrate this. Let’s say I catch my friend lying about something. Have I ever lied about something? Definitely. When I point out to my friend in an accusing way that she lied, I feel like it puts all the attention on her, and not me, even though I’ve sinned in that same way too. But really, when I judge my friend and speak negatively about what she did, I’ve committed another sin by trying to take over God’s job of being the judge. Judgment is reserved for God, and God alone. So essentially, I not only have committed that same sin, but I’ve committed another sin by judging someone else for doing it too.

This idea is also spoken of by Jesus Himself in Matthew 7:1-2 when He said, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” When I condemn someone else, I too am condemned.

If two little kids playing together break something, what happens? Mom comes into the room after hearing the crash, and asks what happened. Both of the kids immediately pipe up and say “He (or she) did it!” Our human nature doesn’t want to take responsibility for our own actions. It’s so much easier to blame someone else, isn’t it? That way we don’t have to face our own shortcomings.

It’s often not easy to take responsibility for your own actions when there have been negative consequences to them. Of course, we all want the responsibility when something good happens! But when a big mistake is made at work that costs the company a lot of money, do you rush to admit that you caused it? When you’re caught doing something you’re clearly not supposed to do, do you enjoy that experience? Of course not! We will all face God’s judgment, and when that happens we will all be forced to take responsibility for our own actions.

God does not want to condemn us. Instead, as this week’s passage from Romans shares, God possesses the character traits of “kindness, forbearance and patience,” and “God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance” (verse 4). Good character and integrity are important, and we need to practice them by being responsible for ourselves. When we condemn others rather than taking responsibility for our own sinfulness, we are showing contempt for God’s character.

Honor God and honor yourself by not judging others, when you yourself are the one who deserves that judgment.