Have you ever been judgmental? I know, me neither. But I heard this story about this lady…let’s just call her…Kana Jelley, you know, so I don’t use her real name or anything. Well, lately, she’d caught herself being judgy. That’s a strong term really. It was more that she had ideas for how other people could do things differently that would surely be better, work better, be more spiritual, you know…
Well, I was reading…I mean…she was reading her Bible-In-a-Year assignment and today’s chapters were in Romans. “Ah Romans. That’s a good book,” she said to herself. “Paul talks about how there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Good stuff, that book of Romans.” And she proceeded to read Chapter 14. Have you read Chapter 14 recently? Well, I took a look at Kana Jelley’s Bible and here’s what she marked:
“Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand.”
I hear that Kana Jelley looked down at her toes because they just felt like they’d been stomped on. Who was she to be judging a fellow believer? Who cares if her idea “works better” or not? Kana realized that her fellow believers are God’s servants (not hers!) and they stand before Him. Because then she read in verse 10 that “You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we all stand before God’s judgement seat.”
And finally, she read verse 22, “So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God.”
Ouch, and wow. How did that verse get in there?
And while I am appalled that Kana Jelley could even entertain judgmental thoughts, I have to admit something to you. I used the following phrase THIS VERY WEEK while talking to my husband…
“This is not a helpful statement, but…”
And my husband, (thank you Dear!) said, “Then why are you going to say it?”
To which I wanted to say, “BECAUSE! You are my safe place. I can say anything, right?” But you know what? That’s NOT right. What I was about to say (which was not about HIM, it was about a different matter completely) was exactly what I warned him: NOT HELPFUL. So if it is not helpful to me, or to my husband, or to the person it was about…WHY SAY IT? If it does not “lead to peace and to mutual edification” (v 19) it doesn’t actually have to be said. At all. To anyone. Not even “to get it out of your system.”
I appreciated my husband giving me the chance to rethink my options and choose to back up and not say my unhelpful comment.
When our middle son (Hi S! You don’t mind me writing about you do you?) was two, he was a chunky cherub but he did NOT want to be pinched or touched by passersby who found him to be adorable. One day he was toddling ahead of us and a well-meaning person came up to talk to him. “No touchy,” he said, wagging his finger. “No touchy!” Our son was laying down the rules.
And it looks like in Romans that Paul has laid down the rules for us as far as how to treat our brothers and sisters in Christ.
No judgy! (wagging finger) No judgy!