In Romans 2 Paul exposes the tendency we all have to look at the sin of other people comparatively with ourselves while justifying or sometimes even doing the very same things in a different form at the same time. Paul was calling out the Jews because they were making accusations against the Gentiles because they didn’t follow the law and they were not circumcised. Paul was trying to show them that the Gentiles weren’t called under the law and didn’t need it, but that their commitment to following Jesus actually reflected the perfection of the law because they were instinctively following it in their hearts without them even being aware of what the law required. Paul was trying to persuade the Jews that in God there was absolutely no favoritism between those who grew up understanding what the law required as Jews, and those who were just becoming Jesus followers without any education or following of the written law. He also tried to show them that their focus on what others were or weren’t doing was only a distraction from themselves and added a hardness and a resistance to their own growth and change. When we look at others and compare them to ourselves it takes away the personal accountability of our own behavior and slides us into a comparison attitude of “well at least I don’t do that’. It’s nothing but a stupid mind trick spun up by the guilt and shame in our own hearts that wants to use other people as a distraction so we don’t have to deal with the ugly things we see in ourselves. It somehow appeases us when we see someone else’s struggle and we think “hey, I’m not so bad”. We somehow believe it gives ourselves a pass on our own issues because it’s a false sense of elevation we might feel even if it’s just temporary, that silences the voice of the terrible nagging shame in the back of our own minds for the things we are struggling with in our thought life, our attitude or acted out. When we feel out of control, we want to control someone or something else. When we feel shame and guilt for what we are struggling to change, we want to feel accepted, so we look outwardly at someone else. When we do that what we’re actually doing is just projecting our own issues onto other people and hoping it will make us feel better about our own junk. What I really pulled out of this today is that our walk can not be others-focused. We can’t look at anyone else in this world to determine where we stand with God. We are not responsible for anyone else is this world. We are only responsible for asking Holy Spirit to reveal to us the things inside our own hearts that he wants to deal with and allow him to work the change in us. Verse 16 reminds us that there will be a day that God judges what we have kept secret in our own hearts. This should absolutely motivate me to dig deep and ask God to reveal those things because when we get honest and real with Jesus he is so faithful and loving to show us not only what we need to see, but as Paul said in verse 4 “His kindness is intended to lead us to repentance.” There is so much freedom in asking the Holy Spirit to reveal our issues. When we really grasp the understand that there is actually nothing truly hidden from God, and he already sees it all in us and that he still loves us unconditionally because he made us in his in His image and values and loves us so deeply, this should give us the courage to lay it out there and ask him to help us walk out the change. Today this is my prayer. Holy Spirit, please reveal my heart to myself and show me what I need to see in my own heart. Show me the root of my feelings so that I can be healed and free! Remove from me the insecurities that keep me from knowing how much that you really love me!