Romans 14:12 So then each of us shall give account of himself to God. ý13 Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother's way.
My family and I like to play games when we eat out. While we are waiting for our food, we will often play twenty questions or I spy. Last year, I came up with a new game, I haven't given it a name yet. The game however, works like this, you look around at the other patrons and you allow your imagination run wild and come up with a funny job based on the person's physical attributes, what they are wearing, doing, eating or some combination thereof. The game goes against what we have been told most of our lives but we struggle to put into practice, "don't judge a book by the cover."
In these verses, Paul encourages us to refrain from judging other Christians. Not because it is rude, mean, or inconsiderate, but rather because we will have to give an account to the Lord for our actions, thoughts, and inactions. In other words, we shouldn't judge others, because frankly, we should be judging ourselves.
The problem with judging ourselves is simple, most of us think we are normal. Most of us think others think like us. When it comes to logic, we have a corner on the market and everyone else would be foolish not to think like we do. Now, deep down, most of us know this isn't true. In order to avoid thinking about it, we look at others and find ways they don't live up to our standards, instead of looking at ourselves and looking for where we don't live up to the Lord's standards.
So when judging ourselves, one of our first questions ought to be this, am I causing others to stumble? Are my habits, my actions, my words, my (you fill in the blank) causing others to stumble? Even if you do these things without malice, judgment or an evil thought in your mind. Even if you are doing these things with a clean conscience. Paul says, it doesn't matter, because if you are causing someone to stumble, there isn't a good enough excuse, there isn't a good enough reason.
So we won't play the game anymore. Because, I realized as I was writing this article that, I was encouraging my family to judge other people, even if it is just a silly game. We can play something else. How about you? In light of the fact that one day we will be judged by our God in all things, what things is He pointing out in your life that need to end, because they are causing others to stumble?