Romans 14:1-12 (ESV)
Do Not Pass Judgment on One Another
14 As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. 2 One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. 3 Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. 4 Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master[a] that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.
5 One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God. 7 For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. 8 For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord's. 9 For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.
10 Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; 11 for it is written,
“As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me,
and every tongue shall confess[b] to God.”
12 So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.
Our world is full of judgment. Everywhere you look, someone seems to be pointing the finger at someone else, taking the “my way or the highway” approach. You would think the church would be a refuge from this. You would think that the church is a place where we can escape the anger and the judgment and be enfolded and covered with love and grace. And sometimes it is. But what about when it isn’t? What about when Christ’s followers are the ones pointing the fingers at one another, at people outside of their church, at anyone different than them? God calls us to be so much better than that. God calls us to lead the charge in showing grace and love. We are supposed to be examples of love, grace, mercy, and forgiveness in this world.
Today’s reading from Romans is one that I am very passionate about. It is all about judgment, and how we are NOT supposed to judge one another. The reading discusses how different one person might be from another, and how we are supposed to let that person be different. We aren’t supposed to argue with them over their differences, judge them because of them, hate them because of them, or assume that the Lord doesn’t love them because of them. Reflect again on Paul’s words: “For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living. You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat.” It seems pretty clear that God is the Lord of ALL, not just a select few. God is the judge, not any of us, and he calls us to love.
Lord Jesus, you alone are judge of all. Forgive me when my heart becomes judgmental of others. Teach me how to love all your people, especially those who are different than me. Amen.
Written by Christie Lazarides Director of Contemporary Worship