Summary: The reasons to stop passing judgment on one another There reasons to “ACT IN LOVE” To act in love means we see the person as someone for whom Christ died.
Act in Love (Romans 14:13-15)
13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. 14 I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean. 15 If your brother or sister is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy someone for whom Christ died.
If you have a new living translation Bible, the whole chapter of Romans 14 is titled “the danger of criticism” because presumably there was plenty of criticism going on between Gentiles and Jews in the church in Rome. They were not criticizing each other on major issues. But they were criticizing each other on less important subjects and practices not clearly right or wrong for all people.
Their criticism was concerning some rules and restrictions of the law of Moses.
The Jews wanted to keep the sabbath day, and they wanted to eat only ceremonially clean foods as Moses prescribed. And the gentiles ate any food. Paul knew the gentiles were correct because the believers had been freed from following these rules, but he didn’t side with the gentiles. Rather Paul said, verse 14, “I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean.” He shared his conviction that the believers were free to eat anything but didn’t criticize the Jews. And Paul also urged that neither group pass judgment on the others.
And verses 1 through 12, Paul explains why we shouldn’t judge or criticize other brothers. (Slide 2)
(v. 3) God has accepted them. “The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them.”
Whether they eat everything or not, God accepted them as His own children. If they did wrong, they did it to their Father, God. You don’t have the right to criticize them; if I scold your children without your permission, wouldn’t you be angry that I ignored you? The same is true with God concerning His children.
(v. 5) They are the servants of the Lord, not my servant. “Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand.” Do you realize Paul was reiterating that Jesus was their Lord or Master 10 times between verses 4 and 9? Paul was emphasizing that only the Lord, their master, is entitled to rebuke His servants. (Slide 3)
(v. 6)They honor the Lord, though they may have different opinions or preferences “The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God.” Paul is saying whether they eat or abstain from the food, the Lord is honored. You don’t have any right to judge someone who does not practice the way you do because he also honors the Lord.
(v. 10) God will judge us all for how we dealt with other brothers and sisters. “You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat” Paul is saying that the problem of condemning and despising brothers does not end in this world but will be judged after death. Jesus said. “God will judge you by the judgment that you judge others.”
Having mentioned all those reasons why we shouldn’t judge or criticize other brothers, (Slide 4) Paul says in verse V. 13, “Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister.”
If you can’t encourage them, you do at least stop judging them and do not cause them to stumble and fall. (Slide 5)
Then in verse 15, Paul talks about the root cause of why we judge and criticize others. 15 “If your brother or sister is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love…”
If you judge and criticize others that your brother or sister is distressed, you are not acting in love. I remember that when I served as a pastor in another church. I sometimes unwisely insisted on my ideas, ignoring other leaders, thus hurting some people’s feelings. But, the Bible says, love doesn’t demand my own way. The people are more important than my ideas. What matters is not whether your idea is better or not, but whether you act in love.