Cover to Cover

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 ESV)

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I am reminded of the quote, “You cannot judge a book by its cover”. Well this is true and untrue.  Many of us will make judgments on a book by its cover.  We will look at the title, the artwork, the endorsements of the book itself, and the author.  But what really determines a book is not the cover, but the content.  The same is true with our Christian lives.  Most of our books [ lives ]are a GOOD read, while some of the pages….if we could…. we would rip them out for a “do-over”.

In Matthew 7:1-5 we are told “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.  Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?  You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”  Ouch!!!!

Here we are told that how we judge others we will ultimately condemn ourselves.  It is so easy for us to look on others with scorn or disdain because they might be guilty of fault/sin, but we must ask ourselves the question “Could I ever do such a thing”? You might answer  Maybe….Maybe not!  OK…do we dare stop and ask ourselves the question of ourselves before we criticize someone else whether intentionally or not?

Romans 2:2 reminds us that the ultimate standard of judgment is truth.   “How can we look down on others for doing what is condemned in Scripture and we are guilty of  some fault/sin ourselves no matter how small?” Sin is Sin. Oh yeah…such a hard question for all of us to answer!  Paul then poses another question in the next verse, “Do you despise the goodness of God as displayed in forbearance and longsuffering?”

We want people to be “patient and kind” when dealing with our “shortcomings” but do we grant the same in dealing with others?  Honestly, most of the time, NO!  Therefore, before we look down on someone else regarding their shortcomings, we must ask ourselves the question, “Are we guilty of the same thing or something that GOD could consider similar for which we are about to condemn someone else ?”

Lets all pause and be more mindful before we criticize or condemn someone else of fault…we should look within ourselves first.  And be mindful to always show others the same concern as we would wish for ourselves.

Because honestly, we all  deserve some sort of criticism.

REFLECT:
How judgmental am I in my relationship with others?
Do I honestly have a standard for other people that I do not have for myself?
How can I help a person with a critical, judgmental and unloving attitude?

PRAYER:
 Dear Lord, open my eyes to any sin [plank] that blocks my very own vision. Help me this day to see others as you do.  And to extend the same love to others that you extend to me time and time again as I daily deal with my own faults.  In Jesus Name. Amen.

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