Default reaction

In Romans 2:1, Paul offers a warning to those who have been passing judgment on others when they themselves are doing the same things: “You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.”

Don’t we sometimes do the same thing?

–We scoff at those who disregard God, and then pick and choose which of his teachings to follow.
–We look down our noses at those who gossip, and then talk about someone behind their back.
–We think poorly of those who are never satisfied with what they have, and then secretly wrestle with envy.

Our inner thoughts—and outward actions—should certainly compel us to deal with the sin in our own lives first. (We talked about that yesterday.) But I think it should also encourage us to have a more compassionate attitude toward other people.

I’ve just noticed that it’s very difficult for compassion and condemnation to come out of the same mouth at the same time.

It’s easy for compassion to come out of one mouth at one time. And it’s easy for condemnation to come out of one mouth at one time. But it’s hard for both to rule the same set of lips.

So we need to make a choice.

No, it doesn’t mean we agree with everything someone says or does. And yes, there are times when it is actually appropriate to offer a gentle word of correction. But as a general rule, and in light of the struggle with sin which all of us deal with—wouldn’t it be great if the reaction mechanism in our brain was tipped toward grace.

As you make your way in a harsh world, make your default reaction compassion.

By Matthew Ruttan

–Today’s devotional is related to my most recent sermon: “Responding to an age of polarization.” Click here to watch it on YouTube.

–Bible quotes are from the NIV.

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