Tuesday, 7 September 2021
“For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit…”-Romans 14:17
In today’s reading, the Lord wants to teach us valuable lessons on practical issues, which if not understood and followed correctly can cause many to stumble in their faith. Paul tries to deal with difficult yet delicate questions that arose among the Jew-Gentile community of the church in Rome concerning eating certain kinds of food, observing certain days, etc. Paul seeks to tell them how to behave, pertaining to such matters. The Christian is to live appropriately in goodness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit and not as a man whose whole attention is absorbed by observances and outward forms of religion.
Paul tells the believers to abstain from judging or condemning others or causing others to stumble or fall. God is the Righteous Judge, and He will judge at the right time. Each of us will have to give a personal account to God. Let us carefully evaluate this subject from the Word of God to have a balanced approach to these things.
Jesus said: "Do not judge others, and you will not be judged (Matt. 7:1). The reason why Jesus taught this is because, we all are equally sinners before a holy God and no one is righteous enough to pass a judgment. Basically we as believers are sinners saved by grace; hence our merit is based on Him alone. So nothing in us is worthy enough to pass judgment on others. If we opt to judge others it will be arising from our self-righteous attitude and not based on the reality. That is why the Bible teaches us to consider our faults first before we pass a comment on others. So if we know our own sinful nature then we will be ashamed to pass judgment on others. You may think you can condemn such people, but you are just as bad, and you have no excuse! When you say they are wicked and should be punished, you are condemning yourself, for you who judge others do these very same things. (Rom.2:1 NLT)
Many a time our judgment is more to magnify us or to show that we are better than others. In turn we meddle with others’ affairs and leave behind our own faults. It creates disunity and at the same time destroys the one who keeps on judging others. But the Christian is called to operate in love. This calls us to be more considerate about others. Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins. (1Peter 4:8)
HOW TO OPERATE IN LOVE
If we see anyone doing something wrong it is the duty of the fellow believer to correct the brother or sister in love- not being judgmental about it. We are to bring it to their attention and help them to overcome that weakness in his or her fleshly nature by admonishing them lovingly. This is the biblical conduct. If we don’t correct the other person and allow him to continue in sin then we are doing him/her wrong. Love thinks the best for the other person. Even if it is troublesome, a person who thinks highly about others and loves them will take the first chance to correct them in love.
We also need to caution ourselves in not majoring on the minor things: Vegetarian or Non-Vegetarian; wearing a particular type of dress or ornaments; keeping special days etc; are causes of greater quarrels among the saints of God. These trivial things have to be set aside, and we need to be considerate about others. Our whole attitude should originate out of love towards others and not for gratifying our selfish nature! Paul gives us a remedy in V.19: “Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another.”
Prayer: “Dear Father in heaven help me to operate in love and grow in it. I have been always judgmental about others. Please forgive me and change me and help me pursue the things that make peace. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”