Thursday, September 25, 2014

Condemning Other Christians

Chuckle: A child prayed, "Dear God, Thank you for the baby brother but I asked for a puppy. I never asked for anything before. You can look it up." Joyce

Quote: “As we learn to shorten the time between offense and forgiveness, there becomes no time left for anger or vindictiveness.”  --Unknown source 

CONDEMNING OTHER CHRISTIANS

   "So why do you condemn another Christian? Why do you look down on another Christian? Remember, each of us will stand personally before the judgment seat of God. . . Yes, each of us will give a personal account to God. So don't condemn each other anymore. Decide instead to live in such a way that you will not put an obstacle in another Christian's path" (Romans 14:10,12-13 NLT).

As we study the history of the Christian faith and church, we find numerous incidences where spiritual pride was the basis for criticisms of fellow believers. There are some Christian practices that the Bible leaves open to interpretation, and these differences of interpretation have often become major sources of disagreement and conflict. In Romans, chapter 14, Paul deals with this issue. His thesis is that in Christian practice where there is room for interpretation, we are to accept one another in love even when we disagree.

I know many Christians who practice some aspects of their faith and worship differently than I do, but this makes them no less faithful to their Lord. If a person has been saved by God's grace through faith in Jesus Christ, and Him alone, as Savior and Lord and is committed to serving Him, the principle requirement of faith has been fulfilled. We should always be considerate, encouraging and accepting of other Christians rather than being critical, condescending and condemning. 

It's true that the church must stand fast against practices that are expressly forbidden in God's Word, but we should not create additional rules and regulations and make them as important as God's specific instructions. Too often believers base their judgments of others on personal opinion, preference or adherence to a tradition. By doing so, our own lack of faith is exposed in that we don't think God is strong enough to guide His children without our help. 

Paul's message is that we should remain strong in our faith while being sensitive to the faith of others. When we consider the feelings of others before our own, we will always be amazed at the response we will receive. It is very difficult for people to return unkindness when they become convinced they are loved and appreciated -- when they know their best interests are a major consideration in a relationship. 

None of us is so strong in our faith that we are without weaknesses and we should always be concerned about the effects of our behavior on others. As we grow in our faith, we will become more concerned about giving an account to God for our own actions rather than judging those of others.

Love, Jerry & Dotse

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