At whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself. (Rom. 2:1)

I sat there, stunned by the words spoken while my husband and I argued. I couldn’t believe such cutting things had actually been voiced. And by me. I’d heard couples fight with destructive words and couldn’t believe anyone would ever say such things. Inexcusable! Uh-huh. I’d just one-upped them. It wasn’t my usual nature, as I tend to avoid stirring the pot even when I should, but I just leaped over the sin line with both feet.

In Romans we are reminded not to judge others, thinking we would never do what they have. God knows our hearts, and that we are capable of and often do those very things we disparage more than we realize. And He will respond accordingly. So we are called to view ourselves rightly—forgiven, growing, but only able to obey by the power of God’s indwelling Spirit. It’s a harsh truth that when we forget that, believing we are spiritually greater than others, we rely upon our own supposed spiritual strength rather than the strength of God’s Spirit.

At times we can feel we’re pretty great spiritually. But really we need to remember that any spiritual greatness comes from Christ, not us. And when we find ourselves tempted to raise eyebrows at someone else’s actions, we should thank God for all He has forgiven us—like my sin that night when I argued with my husband, which, thankfully, my husband forgave too.

List things God has forgiven you for and review them when you’re tempted to judge others.

Diane Gardner lives in northern California. She enjoys oil painting, theater, community festivals, and quiet evenings at home.