Daily Devotion 12 March 2021

Create a peaceful space to pause, and allow yourself to feel God’s presence alongside you, as near to you as your own breath. In following the reflection below, as a church we will draw closer to God and to one another as we grow in faith and deepen our sense of belonging to God.

Romans 14:10-12 ‘Taking Care Not to Judge’

10 Why do you pass judgement on your brother or sister? Or you, why do you despise your brother or sister? For we will all stand before the judgement seat of God. 11 For it is written, ‘As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall give praise to God.’ 12 So then, each of us will be accountable to God.

Families tend to have their own ways of keeping order. I remember that, as a child, when my mother counted to three, we were so terrified that our obedience was immediate. For my grandchildren, the ultimate sanction was being sent to sit on the bottom stair for five minutes. My daughter once discovered 2½ year old Josie there in tears. Enquiry elicited that her brother Sam, just 17 months older, had sent her to sit there for talking too loudly. It was quickly established that only parents could invoke this punishment!

We pass judgement on others far too often and nearly always without knowing their full circumstances. Our judgement is often self-centred and biased, but God’s judgement is different. He judges everyone according to the highest and purest standard. He looks into our hearts and sees all of our desires. He knows everything about each one of us. There’s an American-Indian proverb I’ve always liked, “Do not judge your neighbour until you walk two moons in his moccasins.” God doesn’t judge us without being wholly aware of our needs, our motives, our situations.

Then God does an amazing thing, he takes it on himself to redeem us. Out of his infinitely rich mercy and steadfast love he sends his Son, Jesus, to show us the right way and ultimately to be the perfect sacrifice for our sins, to take upon himself the judgment we deserve. And not only does God redeem us when we’re still guilty, but he makes us a permanent part of his household, he welcomes us as sons and daughters. We should be so overwhelmed with joy and thanksgiving to God that we extend the same olive branch of peace and love to all our neighbours, rather than judging them.

If God, who is perfect, can love us sinners, then how can we judge anyone? We must stop being judgemental. We need to take our critical eyes off other people so that we can refocus on Jesus. We are called to love our neighbour.

Watching Songs of Praise the other week, they sang one of my favourite hymns, ‘There’s a Wideness in God’s Mercy’, which includes the words,

For we make God’s love too narrow
by false limits of our own
and we magnify his strictness
with a zeal he will not own.

God loves us all with such an over-abundance of love that we can never imagine how broad and deep and high – and forgiving – that love is. Let’s leave judgement to God in his love and his wisdom and get on with loving our neighbour.

Prayer:

Lord Jesus,
in the turmoil of our days,
help us to stop judging one another.

Open our eyes
to the hungry, thirsty,
to the naked, sick and imprisoned,
to the lonely and the sad.

Then Lord, help us to open our hearts.
Amen.

Reflection & Prayer © 2021 Ann Caffyn.
Hymn words no longer in copyright
Image freely available online.

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All material within this order of worship is reproduced by permission under CCL 1226356