You may recognize the title of this blog post. It comes from this passage of Scripture: “For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?” (1 Peter 4:17 ESV)
The passage is in a larger context of suffering. (Of course, most – perhaps all – of 1 Peter is about suffering, so it’s not surprising that this verse is found in a context about suffering also.)
Regardless of the context, judgment is a huge issue among the church today. What is judgment? Who judges? Who should be judged?
Of course, even when those questions are not asked (or answered), judging seems to be the sport of choice for many Christians. In general, we love to judge each other as much as we love to judge those who are not Christians. Of course, many of us have a list of favorite sins to judge as well.
And, it’s one of the passages that lists some of these “favorite sins” that caused me to start thinking about judgment. What passage? Romans 1:18-32… that dreadful passage that is often thrown against those who are “under the wrath of God” and who God has “gave them up in the lusts of their hearts.”
What kinds of sins? You know, those dreadful sins like gossip, slander, insolence, haughtiness… oh wait, that’s the wrong list. That list isn’t in Romans 1:18-32… oh… never mind. (Romans 1:29-30 ESV)
Obviously, though, we tend to love to judge those “sinners” mentioned earlier in that passage.
But, when we were discussing that passage a couple of weeks ago, we noticed something. We noticed what Paul says after Romans 1… in the part of the letter that we call Romans 2. Specifically, after listing these dreadful sins and the sinners who are under the wrath of God, Paul wrote, “Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things.” (Romans 2:1 ESV)
So, Paul didn’t list all of those dreadful sins so that we could point our finger at them and judge them? Well… huh. What do you know?
And, of course, this began a great discussion on the topic judgment… dealing with some of the questions that I mentioned earlier: What is judgment? Who judges? Who should be judged?
Over the next few days, I’m going to publish posts on several passages of Scripture related to judgment and judging. Hopefully, we’ll be able to help one another figure out what all this judgment stuff is about.
If you’re interested, this is a great place to share your views on judgment and judging now.