You Disgust Me
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
Have you ever looked down with contempt and judgment at the alcoholic or addict? I’m not talking about simply identifying destructive behavior as destructive. I’m talking about looking down on someone because deep down, you know that they’re a terrible person and that you’re better. Most of us have done this. I’m a recovering addict and I’ve done it.
I just can’t understand why you would do that to yourself. How can you know all the harmful effects and still put this in your body? Don’t you know that you’re killing yourself? Don’t you care about anyone or anything except your own appetite? You’re making horrible decisions and that makes you a horrible person. I might have my own problems, but I would never do that. You disgust me and I despise you for your failures.
The problem with that last paragraph, of course, is that it could be said about both the addict and the glutton. I’ve struggled with drugs, so I should be compassionate and understanding. I still struggle with food, so I should remain merciful and gracious. Unfortunately, though, in my recovery, it’s easy to harbor contempt for those who struggle in ways I no longer do. I’m hypocritical because I’m judgmental of another’s drug addiction while still struggling with my own food addiction.
In today’s passage, Paul addressed the sin of a judgmental attitude. In chapter one of Romans, he described the inevitable destruction of the unrighteous who abandon God to follow their own appetite. The temptation, as readers, is to nod in agreement, as we think of all those horrible people we know who are filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice (Romans 1:29).
We look at them and we judge them because they’re really bad people. To us, Paul then wrote these harsh words – In passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. Maybe we don’t fail in the same way, but we too, often follow ourselves instead of God. The truth is, in the grand scheme of things, we’re not better. We just fail in less obvious ways.
I don’t think Paul was saying that drug addiction is the same as gluttony and he didn’t say that we can’t call destructive behavior destructive. He did say however, that we shouldn’t be judgmental of those who sin, until we’re sinless.
“I will not judge you, but understand that someday you will be standing before the judge of all. You are then going to have to justify your actions to Him.”
That’s a good quote. I struggle with this. I don’t want to be judgmental, but that doesn’t mean I can’t or shouldn’t address another’s self-destructive, sinful behavior. The difference, I think, is in my attitude. “I’m better than you” is the wrong attitude of course. “I struggle too, but I’m can’t pretend to be blind to your struggle” is the right attitude I think. Thanks Willis. It’s good to hear from you!