Rom 14:13 “Therefore we must not pass judgment on one another [subjunctive of prohibition, “Don’t ever start…”], but rather determine~~ never to place an obstacle or a trap before a brother or sister.”
Paul warns, “Each of us shall give account of himself to God” (Rom 14:12). We have no business playing the role of God by judging one another. Whatever the personal convictions of another believer, we are not to judge his activities or his motives.
Christ said, “Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven” (Matt 6:1–-4). God alone knows our motives, but if you are only motivated to do good when your actions are seen, recognized, or praised by others, God will not reward you, no matter how great the deed.
To pretend to have God’s omniscience to accurately judge a person’s inner motivation is pretentious and presumptuous.
Paul uses the same Greek verb for judge twice in Romans 14:13, yet it carries two different connotations. We must “not judge one another” refers to condemning someone, as in 14:3–-4, 10. The second phrase, “but rather determine,” refers to making a decision.
We must decide not to be judgmental, but we should judge—-that is, evaluate how we will live to benefit others. One involves being critical, and the other involves discerning how to help.
We are warned, “Take care lest this liberty of yours somehow become a stumbling block to the weak” (1 Cor 8:9). Remember that your liberties could motivate another’s excess or cause him to violate his conscience, thus leading him to sin.
The mature Christian will be sensitive to any weakness in a fellow believer and abstain from anything that could cause him to revert to sinful behavior. This may mean giving up your own rights for the sake of others. Do we just pretend to love others?
“Dear heavenly Father, make me acutely aware of critical, judgmental attitudes toward others so I may quickly confess when I fall into this pit. On the other hand, keep me from allowing my liberty in Christ to cause another to stumble.”
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