Most people read the first chapter of Paul’s letter to the Romans as a prescription of the problem of sin. No one is without excuse because God has disclosed God’s laws and commandments in the order of creation. The way to God is Jesus, and that is it. The challenge, however, is that the first chapter of Romans actually presents the argument of the very false teachers that Paul is writing his letter to counteract. Rather than beginning with his own argument, Paul presents a false Gospel. After describing the harsh criticism the false teacher has towards the people of Rome, Paul condemns that train of thought as hypocritical judgment. Paul’s entire mission was to include people who have been deemed unholy by the people of Israel for centuries. Paul, having persecuted Christians as he followed the Jewish law, recognizes that no one is blameless and that no one has the ability to judge another.
We fall into the temptation of judging other people for so many things, for the mere fact that people are different than us. Paul echoes Jesus’ warning to take the plank out of our own eye before taking the speck out of our neighbors. How do we become a non-judgmental people–a people known for our hospitality and invitation to the table?