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January 21, 2022

Daily Scripture

Matthew 7:1-5; Romans 2:11-16

Matthew 7:1-5

1 “Don’t judge, so that you won’t be judged. 2 You’ll receive the same judgment you give. Whatever you deal out will be dealt out to you. 3 Why do you see the splinter that’s in your brother’s or sister’s eye, but don’t notice the log in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother or sister, ‘Let me take the splinter out of your eye,’ when there’s a log in your eye? 5 You deceive yourself! First take the log out of your eye, and then you’ll see clearly to take the splinter out of your brother’s or sister’s eye.

Romans 2:11-16

11 God does not have favorites.

12 Those who have sinned outside the Law will also die outside the Law, and those who have sinned under the Law will be judged by the Law. 13 It isn’t the ones who hear the Law who are righteous in God’s eyes. It is the ones who do what the Law says who will be treated as righteous. 14 Gentiles don’t have the Law. But when they instinctively do what the Law requires they are a Law in themselves, though they don’t have the Law. 15 They show the proof of the Law written on their hearts, and their consciences affirm it. Their conflicting thoughts will accuse them, or even make a defense for them, 16 on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the hidden truth about human beings through Christ Jesus.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

Some Christians sow doubt about their faith by saying God only saves those whose faith is just like theirs. But Pastor Hamilton wrote, “Most mainline Protestants, Roman Catholics, and a sizable number of evangelicals reject…Christian exclusivism in favor of…Christian inclusivism. This view [says] Jesus is the only Savior of the world….[but] insists that Jesus’ saving grace can be given to whomever God chooses based upon the criteria God chooses….this does not mean everyone will be ‘saved.’ But it appears in Scripture that many who sought to know and love God, but did not know Christ, will in the end…receive the gift of his saving grace.” *

  • After years working mainly with “Gentiles” (Greek and Roman pagans), Paul wrote about people outside the “right” faith who “instinctively do what the Law requires,” who “show the proof of the Law written on their hearts” (verses 14-15). He had seen that there were (and are) honest people outside the Judeo-Christian faith who love and respond to God. Are you able to believe that God’s grace can extend to people like that?
  • Many “religious” people condemned Jesus for befriending “tax collectors” (who collected taxes for the occupying Romans) and “sinners” (who did not fully follow the many laws or customs religious leaders demanded). Who in your world might be classed as “tax collectors and sinners” in 2022? How do you believe Jesus would treat such people? Do you agree with Paul that only God (not us) can “judge the hidden truth about human beings”?

Creator God, you came to save every member of your human family who is willing to trust you. Give me a heart that knows you yearn to redeem everyone, and rejoices in all who respond. Amen.

GPS Insights

Picture of Darren Lippe

Darren Lippe

Darren Lippe & his wife, Doris, first met in a Resurrection Single Adult Sunday School class in 1997 & were married in what is now the Student Center. They are empty nesters with 2 college-aged sons, Matthew & Jacob. Darren serves as a Couples Small Group co-leader & Men's Group Leader, while volunteering in a variety of other capacities at Resurrection.

As we consider today’s passage, I thought we might “visit” with Michelle De Meenor, a retired judge.

DL: Michelle, how do you like to be addressed: Your Honor, Miss, Mrs., or Ms.?

Judge De Meenor: Since I’m retired, I prefer Miss.

DL: Great. What have been some of your more interesting cases?

Miss De Meenor: Well, there was the case of the guy accused of stealing 200 boxes of fluorescent bulbs – he ended up with a light sentence. Or the woman who sued a rock band because they played too loudly – unfortunately she lost her hearing. Or the owner of the banana plantation who was sued for workmen’s compensation after an employee slipped & fell on the job – they lost their case on appeal.

DL: Why do you think Jesus tells us not to judge others?

Miss De Meenor: It’s interesting that this is one of the few times Jesus gives us a negative commandment, like when He tells us in the previous chapter of Matthew, “Not to worry.”

Before we begin, we need to be clear about what Jesus is talking about. I would submit that He is not talking about enforcing laws or holding each other accountable. Rather, He is talking about us “playing God” & pretending we can determine who is in sync with God & worthy of salvation.

DL: But why would Jesus not want us to judge the fitfulness of someone being heaven bound?

Miss De Meenor: I think there are several reasons.

First, unlike God, we don’t have complete information or perfect knowledge. In the courtroom, we strive to find the truth, but we often fall short due to human nature, i.e. faulty memories, incomplete evidence, or unequal legal representation. Likewise, we can be tempted to jump to conclusions about people we’ve barely met. This tendency is even worse today – just think of your reaction when you see someone not wearing a mask (or conversely wearing a mask) & think how quickly we can assess & assume all sorts of things about that person just off that first glance.

Secondly, we are biased. For example, we may be prejudiced against someone wearing a Raider’s jersey or be inclined to favor someone wearing a Chiefs jersey. It is part of human nature to categorize people so we can short cut the decision-making process & pre-determine how we are going to interact with them. Hollywood has made millions off movies exploiting this plotline where the initial judgment of someone was faulty or ill conceived.

Finally, when we get in the habit of judging others, we are exempting any review or assessment of our own faults & flaws. It is so much more fun to condemn someone else for their failings than to do a healthy examination of our own shortcomings.

DL: So, what are your thoughts on those who are heaven-bound?

Miss De Meenor: Well, I’m confident that those who believe in Jesus Christ are indeed saved. I will leave it to God to determine the fate of those who don’t believe in Christ, and, knowing that God is a just & loving God, I’m sure I’ll be quite content with whatever He decides. Finally, since God is a loving God, He will never force anyone who doesn’t want to be in His presence to be with Him.

DL: Well now what? If we aren’t supposed to judge others, what are we to do with all of our spare time?

Miss De Meenor: After forgoing the temptation to predetermine the fate of others’ eternal souls, let’s focus on the 2 items that are still on our “To Do” list: Love God with all of our heart, soul, mind & strength & to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. I would contend that if we spend more time seeking out the good in others rather than eagerly judging them, we’ll develop a healthier perspective & discover a world of beauty & joy.

DL: Great idea. Thanks for your time.

Miss De Meenor: My pleasure. Whoa. I need to run. I’m mediating a dispute between Men’s Wearhouse & Brooks Brothers. Needless to say, a suit is pending.

© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

* Hamilton, Adam. Christianity and World Religions, Revised Edition. (p. 24-25). Abingdon Press. Kindle Edition.