Pentecost 15, Thursday, Year B

Inspired by Romans 2:1-11

“Therefore you have no excuse, whoever you are, when you judge others; for in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, are doing the very same things. You say, ‘We know that God’s judgment on those who do such things is in accordance with truth.’” Romans 2:1-2 (NRSV)

Would God give us commandments if he didn’t care whether we followed them or not? Of course not! The will of the Lord is not to be disregarded in favor of our own preferences and opinions. He gave us his law as a gift, that by following it we may live fully in him, and help create a community in which all are honored and free.

God’s law is perfect and ideal; we are not. Each and every one of us violates some aspect of the perfect will of God, sinning against him and spurning his desire for our wellbeing. At such times it is helpful to be part of a faith community, where we can be reminded of the love and forgiveness of our Lord, and be guided back to the right path. We need that reminder ourselves, and we need to be that reminder for others.

But never are we called to judge. We are not called to judge those within our communities of faith, and we are not called to judge those outside our communities of faith. We are only called to be witnesses to God’s saving grace, and to love our neighbors, even those whose choices we disagree with.

We know that God’s judgment on those who do sinful things is in accordance with truth. But it is God’s judgment, not ours, and we cannot fully grasp his truth. God’s law is perfect, his judgment is perfect, and his mercy is perfect. All we can do is be grateful for his mercy, seek his truth, and trust his judgment.

Let us pray. God of justice, you alone are worthy to judge, because you alone are perfect. Grant us the humility to seek your truth, that our own imperfect judgment may not get in the way of your perfect proclamation. Through Christ our Lord, Amen.