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)
We are reminded of the quote, “You cannot judge a book by its cover”. Well that is true and untrue. Many people will make judgments on a book by its cover. They 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 the Christian life.
In this passage we are reminded that how we judge others we will ultimately condemn ourselves. We see a long list of sins and vices in the previous chapter and it is easy for us to look on others with scorn or disdain because they might be guilty of one or more of these items, but we would never do such a thing. Have we dared to ask ourselves the question of ourselves before we condemn another?
Romans 2:2 reminds us that the ultimate standard of judgment is truth. The issue is addresses in verse 3, in summary, “How can you judge others for doing what is condemned in Scripture and you are guilty of doing the exact same things?” 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 reciprocally in dealing with others? Before we pass judgment on anyone else regarding their shortcomings, we must ask ourselves the question, “Are we guilty of the same thing that we are about to condemn?”