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Sunday, August 4, 2013
Today’s Reading | Romans 14:7–12
We do not live to ourselves, and we do not die to ourselves. If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, so that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living.
Why do you pass judgment on your brother or sister? Or you, why do you despise your brother or sister? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. For it is written, As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall give praise to God.”
So then, each of us will be accountable to God. (NRSV)
In the first half of Romans 14, Paul challenges his listeners to not judge others and to not ourselves be judged by others. Rather, God is the judge.
To be honest, the thought of God being my judge frightens me. I often think that God is a bitter person who finds joy in judging me with cynicism and hardness. But in reality, the cynicism and impatience I cast on God has more to do with me. I'm the cynic who is quick to be critical and judgmental of myself and others, not God.
According to the Bible, God is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love (Jonah 4:2). God is love (1 John 3) bearing with us in our struggle. The one who sends rain on the earth to water the tomatoes and sweet corn. God is the one who sent Jesus, God’s Son, to save me from my cynicism and judgment of self and others.
The good news of salvation through Jesus Christ is that we don't belong to ourselves. We belong to a patient and loving God who is making us new. Let us live in and dwell in this freeing truth together. God, the judge, loves us, and in Jesus, we are being set free from the death of judgment to the life of love.
God, you are the righteous Judge. Yet often, I think I am the judge. Please realign me again today. By your Holy Spirit, remind me that I belong to you, the gracious and compassionate one, slow to anger and abounding in love. Amen.
Written by Daniel Holladay, Administrative Assistant
for Children and Families and Youth
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