Don't Trip Over This!
Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way. ~Romand 14:13
The other night I got back to church after 7:45 p.m. after preaching out of state for two days. I had parked my car behind the church security gate, and went to retrieve it. I decided to use the back office door to get my car key. As I walked to the back door, I almost tripped over a large piece of concrete someone left in the pathway. Even though I did not fall, I did stub my toes and was a little agitated as to who would have left that large piece of concrete where it could not be seen at night. A stumblingblock is a term we use to describe an action or decision that causes another person to fall.
We see the unfortunate REASON.
In Romans 14, Paul is advising Christians to be thoughtful and considerate in their thinking and judgment towards other Christians. Immature, emotional, and hypocritical attitudes lurk within all of us. There is a tendency of us judging another Christian for a decision he made that we might not agree with. The exception to this is when there is unrepentant sin involved. Instead of scripturally guiding a brother who makes a bad judgment call, we easily can fall into the trap of being harshly judgmental and condemning that other person. That person’s action or decision becomes bothersome to us. So, people find themselves both tripping over this action or decision, and stumbling into sin.
We see the unfavorable RESULTS.
As a pastor, my testimony and example must be guarded carefully. If I am careless and reckless in my testimony, I can be a stumblingblock to the faith of weaker Christians, and they could wind up sinning against God in conscience and duty. A Christian with a weak conscience does not have all the facts to discern what they have seen or heard, but could be so influenced by this that they become discouraged and bitter with God. When we are a stumblingblock to other people, this could adversely affect their ability to achieve victory in their faith. If I am extremely judgmental, this too becomes a stumblingblock to a weaker Christian.
We see the unavoidable RECKONING.
“So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.” Paul reminds us that all of us will give an account for our own lives before God. It is a very sobering thought that I will be judged by the Lord for what I did with my life. By the same token, fellow believers must give account one day to God for their lives as well. Whatever judgment we might pass on another person is flawed compared to the judgment each of us will have at the Judgment Seat of Christ. All accounts will be settled one day in heaven. Stop getting stressed out over what someone else is not doing right, and remember there is a reckoning day for all.
We see the unbiased REMEDY.
“Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.” We are to take the high road with each other. Where sin is evident, it must be confronted and dealt with one-on-one. However, when it is a matter of preference and does not violate Scripture, we must allow for margin when another Christian does something we would not do or agree with. The high road is seeking peace in our relationship and edifying one another. We are to build up and not destroy. We can be different and still fellowship with one another in peace. That does not mean we have to go down that same road, but we seek to have harmony in our relationship and build each other up.
Don’t trip when something happens that you do not agree with. Remember the big picture is peace and restoration.
Have a peaceful God Morning!