World English Bible translation
14:10But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. 14:11 For it is written,
"’As I live,’ says the Lord, ‘to me every knee will bow.
Every tongue will confess to God.’"
14:12So then each one of us will give account of himself to God. 14:13 Therefore Let’s not judge one another any more, but judge this rather, that no man put a stumbling block in his brother’s way, or an occasion of falling. 14:14 I know, and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean of itself; except that to him who considers anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean. 14:15 Yet if because of food your brother is grieved, you walk no longer in love. Don’t destroy with your food him for whom Christ died.
Today's lesson reminds us that even though we have come to Christ, even though the Spirit lives within us, we still do not submit to His love and His mercy in every situation in our lives. As Christians saved by God's grace, we know we should not judge our brother. We know in our heart that we have no right to despise anyone. We have no right to think ourselves better than another. We know, when we allow the Spirit of God to tell us, that we are saved only because God is more merciful than we deserve.
Yet, just as Paul wrote to the Romans, we still judge others. We still despise our brother. Perhaps we can say that we are less judgmental than other people. (I do not say this of myself.) Perhaps we can say that there are few people of whom it may truly be said that we despise. (Again, regretfully I must admit that I cannot say this of myself.) Even so, doesn't everyone know at least one person who despite having a wonderful disposition does not know the Lord? There are people I know that are less judgmental than I am, and yet they do not know the Lord. Their attitude condemns me for they do by nature that which my Lord commands me to do and yet that which I fail to do.
Why is it important that we not judge one another? Because Paul is trying to encourage us not to put up stumbling blocks in our brother's way. If I were the servant of the Lord Jesus Christ then I would not want to prevent one person from accepting Christ who might otherwise do so if it had not been for me. I must strive to not be what Paul has called, "an occasion of falling" for anyone.
This is all the more important when we realize that all men and women will stand before the judgment seat of Christ. Those who have rejected Christ will be cast out from the presence of God for eternity. If any are lost on that day because of something I have done or have left undone then I will have failed in my obligation to my Lord.
Of even greater importance, I must not allow my own attitudes to lead to division with other members of the body of Christ. Christ is the head of the body. He is the judge in all matters relating to the body. My goal should be only to follow Christ and to do whatever He would want me to accomplish. I have no right to bind you with what I think is right and wrong. My goal is to point you toward the Shepherd who is the Savior of our souls.
Instead of tearing each other down, we should be about the business of encouraging each other in Christ. Even if we disagree, let us encourage each other to follow Christ even more closely. This is the only way to truly correct the behavior or attitude of another Christian. When we draw closer to Christ, the differences that we have diminish. We are one in Christ because Christ makes us one.
Why do you judge your brother or sister in Christ? Why do we cause others to stumble when we should be stooping to pick them up?
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