Our scripture this morning is Romans 14:10-13.
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. It is written: ‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.’ So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God. 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.
We are warned about judging each other several times in scripture. Jesus teaches us this in Matthew 7:1-2 and Luke 6:37. It is all part of loving one another and treating them as we wish to be treated. Paul reiterates this lesson in today’s passage and adds guidance that we must not put obstacles in each other’s way.
This lesson is repeated in the three rules taught by 18th century theologian John Wesley – do no harm, do good, and stay in love with God. Perhaps we can’t solve all the problems we encounter, but we can certainly keep from making them worse. When we judge someone, we make it more difficult for them to resolve that issue.
Today when faced with a situation in which you might respond judgmentally, stop and think how that might negatively affect the issue, as well as your relationship with others and with God. A prayer pause might be in order before reacting, something as simple as a breath prayer – breathe in and accept God’s love, breathe out and share God’s love. It can make all the difference in your day and those around you as well.
Gracious God, we are sorry for the times we judge others and damage our connection with them and You. Help us to love one another without judgement, as You first loved and forgave us. Amen.