Do not Judge One Another

Scripture: Romans 14:13, ‘Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way.’

 

Observations: Paul in this passage is talking about ‘disputable matters. (v1 or ‘doubtful things’ NKJV, or ‘personal opinions’ GNT)’ Paul specifically mentions food (v2-4, particularly meat and wine, v21), and sacred days (v5-7). Paul’s point is that we should ‘stop passing judgment on one another.’ If one person has a problem with meat or wine or observing the Sabbath then we should respect their views, even if we disagree with them. If they decide to not eat meat, or drink wine, or to strictly observe the Sabbath they do so to honour God, and they will give an account before God. And if others have no problem eating meat or drinking wine and consider all days sacred, they also do so to honour God, and they too will give an account before God. It is not our place to judge one another, rather God is the Judge of the living and the dead (v11-12). Instead we should decide ‘not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way.’ That does not necessarily mean that we should stop doing what we believe is good and right just to make someone else happy (v16), but we should certainly be careful not to cause someone else to stumble. In fact, Paul goes on to say that we should make every effort to do what leads to peace and what builds one another up (v19). Rather than pleasing ourselves, we ought to please our neighbour, just as Christ did not please himself.

 

Applications: As Christians we often have different opinions about what is right and wrong. In Paul’s day it was stuff like eating meat, or drinking wine, or observing the Sabbath, and in our day it can be things like smoking and gambling and pop music. How do you interact with these issues? Do you judge people who have different opinions than you? Do you look down on them as ‘less spiritual’ or ‘less mature?’ According to Paul a proper Christian response would firstly be to interact with what the Bible says. How might God view these things, weighing carefully our Christian freedom with what honours God. Secondly, we should not do anything that puts an obstacle in their way or causes them to stumble. Sometimes that might just mean keeping your mouth shut, other times it might mean not doing something. The point is that we love one another.

 

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, forgive me when I look down on other Christians because their views differ from mine. Lord, often I struggle with spiritual pride, thinking that I understand Your will better than other people. Lord, help me put people before issues. Help me to love my brothers and sisters in Christ even when we disagree about our Christian beliefs or practises. Lord, keep me from a judgmental spirit, and instead help me to sensitive to others. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

 

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