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Summary: Paul’s caution to the church about not judging...why we must not ignore that!

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1Welcome those who are weak in faith, but not for the purpose of quarreling over opinions. 2Some believe in eating anything, while the weak eat only vegetables. 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. 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. 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. 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. 7We do not live to ourselves, and we do not die to ourselves. 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. 9For to this end Christ died and lived again, so that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living. 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. 11For it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall give praise to God.” 12So then, each of us will be accountable to God. Romans 14:1 - 12 (NRSVA)

An Admiral was visiting on the deck of a U.S. Navy ship; he was chatting with some enlisted men. “What would you do if another sailor fell overboard?” A sailor promptly replied: “I would raise the alarm and toss him a life preserver, sir.” The Admiral asked a second question: “What would you do if it were an officer?” The enlisted man thought a minute, then asked, “Which officer, sir?” We choose the ones we save; we choose the ones we’ll love – which ones we deep worthy to get our life preservers. [1]

Paul’s main thrust in this text leads us to a conclusion: the church is to have (wide) open doors; we must accept all comers! The Apostle’s rationale is since God accepts (forgives) everyone, we should too!

I. IT IS HUMAN NATURE TO JUDGE OTHERS

“Don’t you judge me!” You hear it pretty regularly these days. People are pretty free to speak out when it comes to judgmental attitudes; especially if you’re the judg-ee, not the judg-er!

It wasn’t much different in Paul’s day. Let’s face it; nobody enjoys having someone else criticize him. But it’s our nature – we make judgments all the time. Pagans…those outside the church…are particularly adept at criticizing those inside the church. Hypocritical and judgmental, I believe is the terminology! Funny – that sounds just a little judgmental; might even qualify as hypocritical to judge somebody else for being judgmental!

Now, that would be kind of humorous if it were not for the fact that pagans’ judgment of the church pales in comparison to the judging that’s flung around from within the church. Christians judge other believers. We tend to brand ourselves, liberals, conservatives, moderates, open-door, closed communion – it gets my mind boggled to try to figure out where I stand. I was a new pastor many years ago, and they held a reception so we could get to meet everyone. One dear fellow came up to me – didn’t even say “hello” but launched right into the interrogation: Preacher, what do you think of ordaining women? It didn’t take long to find out there wasn’t much compassion or open-mindedness in that brother!


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