Refrain From Judging!

Judge-not3 Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him. 4 Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand. Romans 14:3-4

It is very easy to for those whose conscience allows them eat meat to look down on those whose conscience won’t let them eat meat and vise versa. It is easy for one group to feel superior, holier, or more mature than the other. It is easy for one group to call the other group legalistic and the other group to call the other liberal. Paul condemns that attitude from either side. In non-essential matters we are not make them issues of judgment.

I do understand that whatever side you take on a particular issue both cannot be right. One is right, one is wrong or they are both wrong. We may not know at this point. Therefore, don’t make issues out of things that are non-issues.

Paul says that one reason you are to reserve judgment is that God has received them. What right do we have to reject one that God has welcomed? How do we break fellowship with those who are in fellowship with God? Are we greater than God? It seems that God has permitted us to have different opinions on minor issues. We should allow these disagreements instead of trying to make everyone see things our way.

The second reason is that when we look down on another we are establishing a Master/Slave relationship that should not exist. We are not their master, God is their Master. I am not anyone’s master and no one is my slave. That is the relationship between God and believers. Who are we to intrude in that relationship? We need to welcome our brother and let God, their master, straighten out any errors. Each of us has to answer to God.

Again, we are speaking of matters where disputes are permitted. We are not talking about essential matters of theology. There are things we must believe to be Christians and there are things we must believe if we are going to have a unified church. However, Paul says that the Lord is able to make him stand. God can straighten out errors. God can take care of it without our help.