Romans 14:10-14 [NLT]
10 So why do you condemn another believer? Why do you look down on another believer? Remember, we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. 11 For the Scriptures say,
“‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord,
‘every knee will bend to me,
and every tongue will declare allegiance to God.’”
12 Yes, each of us will give a personal account to God. 13 So let’s stop condemning each other. Decide instead to live in such a way that you will not cause another believer to stumble and fall.
Dear God, to answer Paul’s questions in verse 10, it’s so that we can feel better about ourselves. I love to judge others because it make me feel smarter than I am, holier than I am–just better than I am. But Paul reminds us in verse 12 that one day I will be standing before you and you won’t be grading on a curve. You won’t put us on a scale of how I compared with this person or that person. No, it will be you and me and I will have to give you an account of my life and my actions.
If all of that is true, then why do so many of us live our lives comparing ourselves to others? I still remember being at a retreat in the late 90’s and hearing a man give his life story. My dad did his introduction, and I was fooled a little. My dad talked about everything this guy had accomplished by the time he was the age I happened to be at that moment. Before the man even talked, I felt like a loser. Then within five minutes the man explained how he had been in federal prison for embezzlement, had lost his wife and his kids, and now he was trying to rebuild his life. I immediately repented to you for looking at the outside of a man instead of looking deeper and considering what else might be a reality in his life.
Of course, now we all get to see each other’s best parts on social media. And we get to judge each other as well. We judge people if we see them posting pictures of partying too much. We judge them if we see them with the new family for which they left their first family. We allow ourselves to feel inferior to the person who seems to have it all.
Father, help me to take my eyes off of the world and to turn them to you. Help me to stop trying to make my own case through comparison to others, and to simply live faithfully. Lead me not into temptation, but deliver me from evil. And please forgive me for failing you so often. I am sorry.
In Jesus’ name I pray,