Judge Not One Another (Romans 14:13)
Romans 14:13, “Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother's way.”
Paul addresses the answers to this issue by stressing how powerful and how influential our example is and the effect we have on the lives of other people. He emphasizes that we need to be very careful in our attitudes, actions, activities, and appetites lest we hurt our testimony and cause someone to fall into sin or reject Christ as their Saviour. Paul told the Corinthians, “Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men” (II Corinthians 3:2). Most of the people we come in contact with never read the Bible, but they sure read us. Our life has an impact on others. People often judge Christ and Christianity based upon what they see in us. Paul tells us that instead of judging others, we would be better off judging ourselves, lest our liberty put a stumbling block or an occasion to fall before a brother or sister in Christ. We Christians, of all people, can be quick to criticize and notice flaws in others. Whenever we do this, we are reminded of Jesus’s warning not to judge, so “ye be not judged”. We will all have enough to answer for without adding a condemning or judgmental attitude toward other believers.
Jesus said very clearly, “Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again” (Matthew 7:1-2). Keep in mind that the measure in which we judge others provides the degree by which we will be judged. The way we critique and judge others will be exactly how others judge us. Instead of judging others, we should be judging what is in our own lives that could be a stumbling block or obstacle to other believers. Before criticizing, we first should take the “beam” out of our own eyes and be sure that our hearts and minds are clean (Matthew 7:3-5).
Romans 14:10, “But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.” We must remember that “each one of us will give an account of himself to God” (Romans 14:12). We must keep in mind that we will all give account to God for our own conduct and of no one else. Others will answer to God themselves for whatever error they might hold. We are to leave the matter to God. It is not up to us to determine what everyone deserves. We should be thankful that God doesn’t give us what we deserve. In view of the Judgment Seat of Christ, our decision should be to avoid, at all cost, doing anything which would hinder another in the exercise of their faith. Far too often we are so occupied with other people's sins that we conveniently overlook our own. If a believer is constantly looking at his own life and guarding against becoming a stumbling block, he does not have time to judge and talk about his brother.
Paul was telling us to be concerned about not putting a “stumbling block” or “an occasion” to fall in the path of a brother or sister in Christ. “Stumbling block" carries the idea of an obstacle placed in the pathway of someone to cause spiritual downfall or ruin. An “obstacle” refers to anything that would trip up the brethren. The word "occasion" means "leading an animal into a trap, to snare". The words "occasion to fall" means to trap, to snare, to do something that causes a person to stumble and fall. We should be constantly looking at our own life making sure that we are not putting a stumbling block in another’s path to God or causing another to stumble or fall into sin. We must decide that we will refuse to do anything that will harm the spiritual life of the brethren. Our goal, should be to build up the body of Christ by establishing stronger bonds and relationships.
If you are concerned about your example, there are some questions you can ask yourself before you do anything questionable.
1. How will this affect me or others?
2. Will this cause others to stumble or will I be steppingstone?
3. What does the Lord think about this?
POINTS TO PONDER:
We are to judge but one thing…if you are a stumbling block to a brother.
We should avoid providing stumbling blocks or obstacles obstructing the growth of another.
We are either steppingstones or stumbling blocks.
Today, pray for discernment about how you react to others.
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:
What kind of example are you at church or work, can others tell you are a Christian?
Ask God to reveal if you are laying any stumbling blocks, particularly for new believers?
Ask God to purify your heart and mind in everything you do, seek to be pleasing to God, and to be a good witness?
PRAYER: Father, use me to impact others. Help me to be a steppingstone and not to be a stumbling block, In Jesus name Amen.
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Dr. Blackman is passionate about helping others grow in the grace of the Lord. His devotions are centered on how to grow closer to the Lord through a personal relationship with Christ.