Thoughts from the Sycomore’s weekly reading of Romans…
Therefore you have no excuse, everyone of you who passes judgment, for in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. 2 And we know that the judgment of God rightly falls upon those who practice such things. 3 But do you suppose this, O man, when you pass judgment on those who practice such things and do the same yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God? 4 Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?
Why did I just do that? I don’t know how many times I’ve said these words after casting judgment on someone—which is an implication of how often I find myself sitting on that throne of judgment. Just the thought of this makes me feel like puking. It’s not the judgment that I cast or the judgment that I myself will experience that make me sick to my stomach (thought it gets me pretty close to it!). It’s actually the reality of how “lightly” I think of the “riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience” that does. In fact, to describe what I feel as being sick to my stomach doesn’t do it justice. I often feel as if my heart is being torn into pieces.
It begins with guilt and pretty soon passes over into shame. The way that I learned the difference between guilt and shame is this. Guilt is feeling bad about something that we did. What we feel guilty about is true and we actually need it to be a part of our lives. Shame, on the other hand tells me that I AM BAD and this is when it can become paralyzing—even destructive. What we may choose to do may be bad. But we’re not. I’ll be honest with you. I go through the gamut of guilt and shame—often dwelling on shame for too long. However, as lightly as I may have considered the riches of His kindness when I tried to squeeze myself into that judgment seat (which when I think about it seems so ridiculous—even comical!), it’s His gentle and kind reminder of who this seat belongs to that brings me back to repentance—or the seat of repentance. This seat of repentance is not a bad place to be. It’s a restorative seat—a remembrance seat. It reminds us in gentleness and kindness who we are, but more important who Jesus is as well. Thank goodness He is seated on that throne! #desiringGod2017