“Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother.” Romans 14:10,13
How thankful I am for God’s patient training and mercy. To consider another’s weakness and see myself as strong, and therefore superior, is flat out wrong. If, as my nurse friend says, the hospital gown is life’s great equalizer, then so is our fallen sin nature. We may look distinct and sin differently, but we are all made of the same fallen cloth. One who may not pilfer from a place of employment or a store may steal a reputation through gossip, or the tender aspiration of a child through constant criticism; one who would never lie under oath can inflate a story to enhance reaction, or break a confidence by loose talk. Paul’s admonition in Romans 14 readjusts vision by changing out our default lens of criticism and judgment to one of relatability and compassion. Instead of wagging a sovereign finger from a throne of superiority, I’m called to clasp hands as a fellow earthling in kind and selfless brotherhood and mutual love in service to a better King.
The Lord does change us; His sanctifying Spirit transforms our heart’s bent and behavior. The Christian life is a daily exercise of putting off and putting on, and the longer we wear our new clothes, the better they fit and more comfortable and becoming they are. “If then you have been raised with Christ, set your minds on things that are above. Put to death therefore what is earthly in you; put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” (Colossians 3:1,2,5,8-10,12-14)
Good King and only Righteous Judge, cause me daily not to see myself more highly than I ought, but with sober judgment according to Your grace. May I see and treat others as brothers in equal need of You. Make me willing to give up privileges and rights You afford for the sake of others, whom You love. May I, with a kingdom mindset, serve You and others by pursuing what makes for peace and mutual upbuilding. (Romans 12:3; 14:18,19)