November 6, 2021
Scripture: Therefore, let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Romans 13:13, 14:1 ESV
Observation: Having addressed fulfilling the Mosaic law by loving one another as Christ loved us, Paul then urges those who are mature in their faith to follow this same principle when confronting those who are spiritually “weak.” He cites two examples of quarreling: dietary/fasting practices and sacred days of observance. His conclusion? There are no set rules regarding such practices. This issue is one of acting in faith based on our convictions.
Takeaway: Unfortunately, through the centuries, the church has divided over non-essentials of the faith and has developed a reputation of being judgmental. In the above two verses, Paul challenges us to refrain from judging the body of Christ (not to be confused with holding others accountable when they are straying away from the faith). Instead, we would do well to monitor our attitudes and behavior to ensure that we are not hindering others in their faith journeys. Hypocrisy is a huge stumbling block.
As it pertains to holding the young in faith accountable (or any fellow believers for that matter), we must exercise patience and humility. The overarching rule of faith is to bear the failings of young Christians over our interests (14:1). Rather than leading with correction, we first serve them with love (13:8-10). Then, when we have earned the right to speak into their lives, we express our counsel with gentleness and concern for their well-being.
Prayer: Father God, please instill Christlike humility and love toward ourselves and others, that we might refrain from judging them and instead patiently follow the lead of your Holy Spirit in serving them and speaking gracious words of correction, caring for their well-being. Amen.
Rev. Gordon Green, M.Div., M.A. Counseling