Romans 14:13 (New International Version)
13Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother's way.
I caught myself at it this morning--looking down the prominent feature on my face, just below my eyes and above my lips. It's an unpleasant tendency that overtakes me periodically when I am dismayed at something that is inexplicable or reprehensible in someone else's behaviour. This time it was triggered by some research into some sad situations in the past. I found myself judging someone harshly when I really have no right.
I found myself asking God for forgiveness for all the times I've looked down my nose at someone--because he never does. I thought of Saul--who stood by as a man was stoned to death, Peter who ducked out when a friend needed him and Nicodemus, the synagogue leader who lacked the courage to visit Jesus except under cover of darkness. If they were my contemporaries I might be scornful in my judgment, yet all of them did what was right in the end.
It's hard to let people know the truth about how wrong I am sometimes in this regard, and just plain sinful. And it isn't even as if I have no other faults of my own. It's tempting to soften the truth, water it down and make it more acceptable, but there's no way to do that and still make the point with a punch. The point is that instead of saying, "How could they..?" I need to remember that under the same circumstances--I might have. That isn't to say there is no right and wrong--no absolutes--just that I am not called upon to be judge and jury. There are more important things to do such as praying for the person in question.
I will always be in need of God's mercy and forgiveness. I hope I remember that the next time temptation towards judgment strikes.
Micah 6:8 (New International Version)
8 He has showed you, O man, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.