You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God’s judgement seat. It is written:
“As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God.’”
... Therefore let us stop passing judgement on one another …
True confession time: this passage speaks right to my heart.
I know it because as soon as I read these verses, I begin to think of people I know who need to hear them so badly, people who strike me as having a very intolerant and ungracious attitude towards those around them.
I repent, O Lord.
I thought I was embracing the truth of this passage by applying it to others. But in fact, I was doing the very thing it condemns.
Oh, how easy it is to see another’s faults while being fully tolerant of my own. How easy it is, without even noticing, to lift myself up to the heights so that I might look down on the failings and character flaws of those around me.
This passage tells me: “Stop.” Remember the One – the only one – who is truly exalted. My knee, along with every other knee in all creation, will bow before him, and my tongue, along with every tongue, will confess that in the Lord alone is righteousness and strength (Isaiah 45:23-24). There is none other worthy. He alone will be the Judge. I, myself, will stand before him.
So, let go of pretence, O my soul. Don’t assume a position of perfection and justice for yourself. Let go of pride, assuming you are untainted by the very stains you see in others.
Instead, bow the knee now, embrace the grace of the Lord, and extend that same grace to those who struggle, like you, with sin and blindness and failure and flaws.
Further, step back and imagine what it would be like to live in a community where the challenge of these verses was fully embraced, where sisters and brothers consciously pressed into it, relying on the Spirit, living out grace rather than judgement. How good! Oh, there would be setbacks, times when the old nature would rear its prideful head, looking down rather than up. But how good to urge one another on through grace, bending the knee together to the One who is altogether worthy.
“Therefore let us stop passing judgement on one another …”
O Lord, I bend my knee to you now, submitting to the challenge of these verses. Thank you for the grace you have lavished on me. Fill my eyes and heart with the same grace for others. In Jesus’ name.
Reflect: In the Lord’s presence, consider whether there is anyone upon whom you are currently “looking down.” Confess your judgemental attitude. Release it. Embrace grace. Pray God’s grace on that person throughout this day.