“So why do you condemn another believer? Why do you look down on another believer? Remember, we will all stand before the judgment seat of God.” Romans 14:10 NLT.
These questions of Paul are as relevant to the Christians of today as they were to the first century believers in Rome. For with God and His standards in our focus, our differences with one another diminish in importance.
Christians have always had personal difficulties living with one another. Both spiritual pride and strongly opinionated criticism have been the characteristics of too many. Broken relationships abound, and, so long as each individual believes he is in the right, that he has the stamp of God’s approval on his position, healing becomes much more difficult.
And so Paul changes the focus from our differences with one another to our ultimate accountability to God. “Yes, each one of us will give a personal account to God. So let’s stop condemning each other. Decide instead to live in such a way that you will not cause another believer to stumble and fall.” Romans 14:12,13 NLT.
Jesus Himself made an enormous impact on this earth, precisely because He put His Father’s interest above everything else. All He said, all He did was to please His Father; and, more than once, with a great voice from Heaven, His Father confirmed Jesus as His dearly loved Son, Who brought great joy to God.
But, strange as it seems to fallen man, Jesus, as He lived in obedience to His Father’s Will, laid down His own position, reputation, and even His life in order to save others. He tells His followers to copy His example; live to please God. This means giving up our strong tendency to criticise or look down on other believers, even at times refraining from exercising our liberty in Christ; and instead, living our lives as an encouragement for them to stand strong and grow in their relationship with Jesus.