Stop Condemning. Starting Considering.
“So why do you condemn another believer? Why do you look down on another believer? Remember, we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. Yes, each of us will give a personal account to God. So let’s stop condemning each other. Decide instead to live in such a way that you will not cause another believer to stumble and fall.” Romans 14:10–13 NLT
It is so easy to judge and condemn those who are around us and even those who we see from a distance on social media. In some ways I think this is a natural reaction as we go through life -pointing out all the ways in which others can change. Maybe this distracts us from the ways we need to change. Maybe a fleshly reaction is a better description of what’s really going on.
In my own life it is easy to excuse this behavior as a passion for the Lord. I have a hard time seeing how people can love/obey the Lord and still engage in xyz behavior. Thankfully I am learning that it’s not up to me to figure any of that out. That position has been filled since the beginning of time. God stands as the perfect, right, and all honorable Judge.
As we question others motives, actions and beliefs God has two questions for us..
- So why do you condemn another believer?
- Condemning others is a sure fire way to condemn ourselves. We must take a step back from the judgement seat and allow God to be God.
2. Why do you look down on another believer?
- Looking down on someone implies that you are above them. We are all sinners saved only by grace. The temptation as a sanctified believer is to stamp unsanctified on everyone else’s head as you pass by. This is wrong and dangerous.
He answers these rhetorical questions with a very simple solution. Each of us will give a personal account. He goes on to tell us to worry about ourselves essentially. We each should stop condemning others and at the same time continue considering areas in our our lives that maybe causing others to stumble.
Here is a personal example:
My husband and I don’t watch a lot of tv or shows but we do enjoy BBC. A few years ago I posted on my personal Instagram page an image about a show we enjoyed watching. Not long after posting this I got a call from a church that scheduled me to speak at an event for young ladies. The same women who asked me to speak was calling to cancel the engagement because of my promotion of the show. She said it confused her young girls because the show implied sex before marriage. These young girls were upset because I was promoting something they had been taught (correctly by the way) that sex before marriage is a sin and does not please the Lord. My influence could have caused these young girls to stumble! What a frightening position to carry! I was proud of the pastor for calling me and sticking to her convictions to protect her girls!
I had the option of getting mad at this pastor , labeling her a legalistic person and distancing myself from her judgements (the common reaction of believers these days when confronted with truth). But God instantly convicted me and it was a big lesson learned!
The lesson is this: Influence cost us freedom in some ways. When we die to ourselves we no longer have the right to live how we please. When we take up our cross and follow Him it’s not about us anymore. When God gives us leadership and influence- even with ONE person, our lives are not our own. We must take into consideration those around us who, like it or not, are looking to us.
Is giving up a silly t.v. show worth saving young girls who God has given me influence with from stumbling?! ALL DAY LONG! Would giving up drinking, R rated movies, certain foods, or anything else that people fight over be worth it to help another brother or sister in Christ stay on track?! For me, absolutely!
Because we will each give a personal account we must stop condemning others and start acting in a way that considers how we influence those looking to us for guidance.
Take away: Stop condemning start considering.