A Word From Ron – Extra Baggage

One of my pet peeves for travel is when people carry an obnoxiously extra amount of carry-on luggage. I push the limits of what I’m allowed to carry, but I’ve paid good money for a suitcase that expands then crunches down to the legal size. But when someone comes in with their carry-ons and a bunch of additional bags, well, it’s just rude. Eventually someone who just needs room for their one carry-on is going to have to check it. I know, it’s a petty first world problem, but all of us need a pet peeve!

Recently, I was on a short flight when I saw someone carry in a carry on, 2 backpacks, and some expensive store bags filled to the rims. Of course, she struggled to find places for it all to fit and after a number of minutes of rearranging, she got it all to fit. Somewhere in there, while I was mentally stewing over this clear violation of overhead baggage policies, the woman slipped back off the plane. When she returned, she was carrying a teenage boy, followed by a man probably a little younger than me, wincing in pain with every step, wearing a full back brace.

I was humbled and convicted, but honestly, it was just the reminder I needed!

Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things. Romans 2:1 KJV

Paul gives us perspective here as it relates to standing in judgement of others. Like my example, it is far to easy to jump to a conclusion, to make a judgement, or decide on a matter with absolutely no way to know the full context. Certainly, context would help us avoid the majority of rash judgements of people, but Paul here reminds us that we aren’t even judges. It’s not our role, no matter what, no excuse, no defense.

This reminds me of something I see a lot of on one of my guilty pleasures on television… live police shows. With so much bad publicity for law enforcement, I love to watch cops interact civilly with criminals. It’s interesting to watch someone accused or arrested for a crime treated kindly by a law enforcement officer, reminding them that they aren’t in charge of the laws, they don’t make them, and they don’t even stand in judgement, that is someone else’s job entirely. They just keep the law as they see it and leave it to others to make the judgements. That perspective makes their job so much easier, and it makes their job even more respectable.

I believe that is what Paul is describing here, by not mincing words. We have no excuse. We ought not to stand in the place of judgment, we ought to leave that to God and those in authority. Rather, we can demonstrate grace and mercy trusting that there is One who knows and sees and isn’t about to rush to judgement. He’ll never make the mistake of assuming the worst but will apply the right about of justice if needed.

We encounter a lot of people throughout our day and rarely do we ever get a glimpse into the “extra baggage” that they are carrying. Let’s save ourselves the extra baggage we take on by wasting time and energy in judgement of others.

Dr. Ronald Barnes Jr.



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