Romans 14:1-12 (NRSV)
Chapter 14Welcome those who are weak in faith, but not for the purpose of quarreling over opinions. Verse 2Some believe in eating anything, while the weak eat only vegetables. Verse 3Those who eat must not despise those who abstain, and those who abstain must not pass judgment on those who eat; for God has welcomed them. Verse 4Who are you to pass judgment on servants of another? It is before their own lord that they stand or fall. And they will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make them stand. Verse 5Some judge one day to be better than another, while others judge all days to be alike. Let all be fully convinced in their own minds. Verse 6Those who observe the day, observe it in honor of the Lord. Also those who eat, eat in honor of the Lord, since they give thanks to God; while those who abstain, abstain in honor of the Lord and give thanks to God. Verse 7We do not live to ourselves, and we do not die to ourselves. Verse 8If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord's. Verse 9For to this end Christ died and lived again, so that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living. Verse 10Why do you pass judgment on your brother or sister? Or you, why do you despise your brother or sister? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. Verse 11For it is written, "As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall give praise to God." Verse 12So then, each of us will be accountable to God.
It is so easy to be judgmental—whether we’re traveling behind some slow-moving driver, or voting for the only “right” candidate. We so easily deplore others who do not see life the way we do.
Judgement can be the bane of our existence. It’s so easy to cast our judgments one another or on other groups of people? For me, judgment is a learned reflex, easy to think that “payback” is only fitting. How hard this makes relationships in our world! How cold and calculating the ways we interact!
But the Apostle Paul reminds us in the Letter to the Romans that our job is not to judge. I have learned that lesson too often the hard way—by either being wrong or by having faulty judgment come back to rest on me! We are in this matter of life together, regardless of our political affiliation, world-view, or history. We, all of us, stand and thrive in the presence of a God who is our loving, gracious—and merciful judge.
Calling God, speak to us, challenge us, bend us, lead us. We so often let our will replace yours, and our limits restrict the limitless love you have for us and for your whole creation. Help us be the people you have called and created us to be. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.