Recently I was reading through Romans 14 and had to pause when I came to some challenging thoughts from the Apostle Paul. Verse 13 especially stood out to me:
Let us not therefore judge one another any more, but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way.
If I’m honest with you (and myself!), I’m quick to reach for judgment, even though many times I don’t have all the details or the situation doesn’t even pertain to me at all. It’s so easy to be critical, to give my “two cents” or to pass judgment because that is typical of the flesh. My flesh. Your flesh.
Fact: “Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.” (Galatians 5:16)
I’m really grateful Paul gives three filters to combat a judgmental spirit. Obviously God doesn’t want me to stay in this fleshly place, but rather get some victory over it!
Filter #1: The spotlight directly shines on my actions: am I putting a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in my brother or sister’s way? A stumblingblock will look different for each of us, but the question to ask is this: do I value my brother or sister in Christ more than I value _________? (fill in the blank!) Do I first see the blood of Christ covering that person or do I only see something I just don’t like?
Filter #2: In verse 15, Paul also mentions walking in charity. So now I have another question to ask myself: am I walking in charity towards my brother or sister in Christ? Paul continues to press home the point in this verse by writing, “Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died.” I’m convicted and ashamed of the countless times I have been willing to “destroy” someone for whom Christ died for extremely selfish reasons. My flesh truly is despicable.
Filter #3: Verse 19 puts the final nail in the selfish coffin by stating, “Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.” Am I am intentionally following after things which make for peace and intentionally looking for ways to edify someone else? In case I sailed through the first two filters with no problem, this third filter will definitely keep me busy pursuing peace and edification. ☺