7 For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself; 8 for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s…10 But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God…12 So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God.13 Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather determine this—not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother’s way. (Romans 14)
I was so struck by something as I read this passage this morning. In verse 13, we are encouraged not to judge one another anymore, but rather, determine this-not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother’s way. As I pondered this passage, I remembered the phrase, “to SIT in judgment.” Sitting is very inactive, but being determined about something requires force of energy, activity. I realized that if I would spend more time actively seeking ways to remove an obstacle or stumbling block out of someone’s way, I would no longer be SITTING aloof in judgment of them. To remove an obstacle requires that I get up out of my seat, and run over to move that boulder, that branch, or whatever is in front of another person. I am no longer inactive in their life. I have just actively entered in to care for them, and extend a hand of love and kindness. Believe me when I say that I have struggled with judgment in my life. I have been on both ends of that stick. It is sharp on both ends, injuring the one Sitting in judgment, as well as the one being judged. But to drop the stick, and instead lend a helping hand to someone who is struggling, well, that creates another story. That helping hand becomes a life-line for both people. Blessing waits at either end of that choice. I am reminded of what Jesus said:
Take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. (Matthew 7)
Our own weaknesses become larger when we judge one another. Our own specks become logs when we SIT in judgment. But when we humbly ask Jesus to deal with our weaknesses, His mercy toward us, then guides us to reach out to others who are struggling. Judgment SITS aloof, uninvolved; but Mercy extends a helping, caring, loving hand.
O, Jesus, please make me more like You. Amen!