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Here Comes the Judge?

This past year my bible study focused on the book of Romans. One major takeaway for me was a fresh focus on Romans 14:4, “Who are you to pass judgment on another’s servant? Before his own master he stands or falls.” I was convicted of how much time I waste evaluating the actions of others, especially as they may impact me.


This past year my bible study focused on the book of Romans. One major takeaway for me was a fresh focus on Romans 14:4, “Who are you to pass judgment on another’s servant? Before his own master he stands or falls.” I was convicted of how much time I waste evaluating the actions of others, especially as they may impact me.

Churches are divided, ministries hindered and people wounded as criticism begets criticism and we “bite and devour one another.” (Galatians 5:15) This isn’t a new problem, however our present culture of 24/7 news focuses on blame and accusation. We find ourselves occupied continually with judging and condemning many that we don’t even know personally. No doubt each of us can remember being unfairly judged and we know how painful that can be. And this distracts us and clutters our minds with negative thoughts.

Contrast this habit of judging others with the remainder of Romans 14. We are exhorted there to focus on our own behavior so as not to become a stumbling block to others. These words emphasize how each of us will give an account one day to our own Master, Jesus. When I live with this reality, my focus shifts from judging others toward humble examination of my own life and actions. In turn that leads me to recognize my utter dependence upon the indwelling Spirit to discover my resource for daily living and abiding. (John 15)

Take note this week of your internal conversation toward others. Join me in replacing a habit of criticism with an attitude of compassion and grace. Remember, Jesus extends grace to us and let us extend the same to others.

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Gwynne Johnson

Gwynne Johnson currently serves on the Board of Entrust, Inc., an international education and training mission where she authored the Entrust curriculum, Developing a Discerning Heart. She recently served as Co-Chair of the training project, Christian Women in Partnership, Russia and as Senior Director of Women's Ministry at Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, Texas. Gwynne has a M.A. in Biblical Studies from Dallas Theological Seminary. She currently lives in Huntsville, Texas with her husband of 58 years, Don. She works part-time in her daughter and granddaughter's bakery "The Best Box Ever," where she gets paid in cookies.

4 Comments

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    Sue Bohlin

    A culture of blame and accusation

    >>. . . our present culture of 24/7 news focuses on blame and accusation. We find ourselves occupied continually with judging and condemning many that we don’t even know personally. <<

    Wow, Gwynne, this is really insightful! If we expose ourselves to very much of TV news and programming that seeks to explore and explain current events and issues, there is a LOT of finger-pointing. And that is always driven by fleshly pride, isn't it?! It feels so good to look down our noses at people (or companies: see also, BP Oil) and harumph, "YOU! YOU'RE the guilty party!!!" This mindset can easily become contagious.

    I guess if we're going to be pointing fingers, we ought to be pointing to Christ! 🙂

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    Gwynne Johnson

    Deflecting guilt?

    Wonder if we are deflecting our own faults by focusing on the "others" bad behavior? Romans 1-3 says not one righteous…for sure not me!

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    SonShine

    timely
    Thanks Gwynne for this insightful thinking. On Sunday as we finished up the book of Hebrews in SS I was struck by Heb 12:5. How often when we are criticized or are the one handing out the criticism we are scornful and despise. We fail to remember that in every ounce of criticism there is a grain of truth to be found and acted upon. Ps 1 reminds us that to be godly we are not to walk in the counsel of the ungodly, do not stand in the way of sinners, nor sit in the seat of the scornful. The pattern is clear, we walk, then we stand, then we choose to sit. The apostle Peter wrote that we are to “beware” be on guard, be watchful lest you be led astray by these unprincipled men and we end up as the Psalmist said “sitting in the seat of the scornful”. This word scornful is an interesting word. It has the meaning of “to scorn, make mouths at, talk arrogantly” and to be boastful. How interesting that it is boasting! What does Jer 9:24 tell us? If people want to boast, they should boast about this: They should boast that they understand and know me. They should boast that they know and understand that I, the Lord, act out of faithfulness, fairness, and justice in the earth and that I desire people to do these things,” says the Lord. Note the character quality of the scornful to the the character of God. They boast and are arrogant, but God acts out of faithfulness, fairness and justice. Whew. That is a gentle reminder that when we are scornful, we need to take a few steps back and look at “from whence we cometh” …and see ourselves as the Psalmist said in Ps 22:6 “But I am a worm”…Let’s get our priorities right and see how God is using this small study to grow closer to God who is faithful and away from the scorners, the scoffers who reject the very Word from the Almighty God. You said it well Gwynne:
    focus on our own behavior so as not to become a stumbling block to others
    GEA

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    Gwynne Johnson

    Always comes back to pride doesn’t it…

    Self and pride seem to be at the root of most of our problems…hmmm…sounds familiar.

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