“Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations…So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God. 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” Romans 14:1,12,13
Have you ever visited someone in the hospital, assisted living, or rehab, and they have a bracelet on or a sign at the end of their bed that says “fall risk”? I have. It means that this person, at this particular time, is at risk of falling. They are in a weakened state due to an illness, or injury, or maybe some medication they are taking. If someone were to carelessly leave a hazard near them: a wet floor, a fold in the rug, an unstable railing – they could easily stumble and fall and hurt themselves and possibly others.
Well, our passage above tells us that there are many Christian brothers and sisters who are “fall risks”. At this time in their life they are at risk for a fall. Maybe they are struggling with a particular sin, maybe they are going through a trial that is testing their faith and they are weak, or maybe they are just a young immature Christian whose faith has not fully grown yet and they are still learning what pleases and displeases the Lord. Regardless of why, they are “fall risks”, and so other Christians are told not to judge them harshly, but rather to watch out for them and not carelessly place a hazard or stumblingblock in their way to cause them to fall into the sin that Satan is enticing them toward.
We were talking about this in my husband’s Adult Sunday School class, and someone mentioned the “fall risks” at the Senior Living Center, and how they have to be constantly looking for hazards in order that nobody falls. It’s not that it is illegal to leave a floor wet, or leave a rug with a fold in it, it is just dangerous to others. It is the same with our fellow believers.
As mature believers, there are many things that we are a liberty to do, because we may be strong enough in our walk with the Lord that they do not tempt us to sin, or because that particular sin is not a temptation to us. But, as we like to say, “It’s not all about YOU!” So, we need to be careful how we use our Christian Liberty:
“But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak.” (I Corinthians 8:9)
So, “Let us not therefore judge one another any more…” That actually means STOP IT!! Apparently there was a problem with Christians judging one another (imagine that!), and so Paul was telling them to STOP judging one another, and rather to help each other out. Our human nature wants to feel superior to others, to judge them and condemn them in order for us to feel good about ourselves. But that is not the Christian Way. In the book of Philippians, Paul tells us not to be prideful and arrogant, but humbly looking out for others’ needs, as the Lord Jesus did:
“Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:3,4)
I hope that this devotional has convicted you as it convicted me to be more aware of my fellow Christians who are “fall risks” – and at one time or another, we ALL are!! May we show Christ’s love to each other, after all, we are not the Judge, He is!
~Graced and Grateful Grammy
Be a part of the solution, not part of the problem