“It is written: “‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.’””.
Sometimes personal opinions get in the way and cause problems within the body of believers, within our churches don’t they? We tend to have this ‘I’m right, your wrong’ attitude when it comes to how we should live our lives and put our faith into action. In our verse today, Paul addresses some of these issues because Jewish custom and culture was very different than Gentile culture and it showed in their manner of eating, and in other areas as well. Some were looking down their noses with contempt at others of the faith, who saw things very differently. Paul’s point here, is that these things do not matter in the big picture, because faith isn’t grounded on these issues. True Faith is grounded on the pure and simple gospel message of the cross , the Lord and the Christ who died to make atonement for our sins possible and bring salvation to the lost. It is God, who is the true and righteous Judge, who will deal with the flaws and shortcoming of His people, when every knee bows before Him and every tongue confesses Him as Lord. God will deal with it as He sees fit. Paul reminds the believers that each brother and sister in the Lord, is responsible for themselves personally, before God and judgment from others is unnecessary and uncalled for. In other words, we are not to judge! Plain and simple!
However, because of pride, we get caught up in this haughty mindset and take judgmental authority upon ourselves in order to straighten every one out. We begin to rebuke, criticize, condemn and slander, even cry ‘hypocrite’ to new or even seasoned believers, for not adhering to our self – made ‘laws’ that we govern our own lives by. Such non – graced action quickly leads to dissension, quarreling and divisive behavior, when it’s really no concern of ours, how others, who profess their faith in Christ, live their lives. Paul makes it clear that we are not too look with scorn on those weaker in faith or on those who live out their faith in the Lord differently than we do.
Have you been judged, criticized and ridiculed for something? Has it hurt you or made you leave the unity of the body of believers? It’s the enemy’s tactic for causing strife and bitterness. It’s sad and it shouldn’t happen! Or maybe you’ve been the judge and held the gavel over someone’s head while pronouncing them guilty as charged. That’s pride and is also the enemy’s tactic for causing division. It’s wrong and Paul says we have no business doing that! Instead, we need to take account of ourselves before God and make sure that our own hearts are right!
Now it can get really personal and this is where our true colors of the faith show. It’s where our mature, strong faith in Christ will show up or not! If our behavior causes others to question and doubt, then, we, who are strong in the faith, need to put the questionable behavior behind us and act in such a way that it will glorify Christ and speak lovingly to others. Why? Because as mature Christians, we need to take responsibility for our actions. Forgive and receive forgiveness if need be and put our self-righteousness behind us. Our main goal as a Christ One is to win the lost and be excellent representatives for the Lord and His work. If something we do, hurts someone, then we have a responsibility to own up to it and stop it! It’s our responsibility to maintain peace and share joy, compassion and love within our circles of influence. No, we don’t look at someone else but let’s look into the mirror and yeah, everyone let’s heed Paul’s words of wisdom and quit passing judgment on our brothers and sisters because according to us, they don’t measure up, and let’s make sure we don’t give others any reason to question our own testimony for the Lord. Friends, if we could all live in such a way, our world would be wonderful and our churches? Well…they would not be divided, for each one would settle their accounts before God, give grace where needed and maintain peace and unity within the body of believers.