"Who are you to judge someone else's
servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for
the Lord is able to make him stand." (Romans 14:4, NIV)
Wow!-- he will stand!
It is not because you nor I want him to, but despite you or I condemning
him for what he (or she) does. It is because the Lord God is able.
I think of the woman who was brought before Christ when the religious
people were trying to trick Him, get Him to say something so that people
would discount His teaching and turn away. Maybe then He wouldn't be a
"political threat"... so they brought this woman, "Caught in adultery!"
How did he respond?
He scribbled in the dust and was quiet.
Faced with their questioning and their desire to stone her, he just
replied: "If any one of you is
without sin..." Slowly everyone
disappears and Jesus goes to the woman,
"Where are they? Has no one condemned you?"
and He doesn't, even with everyone gone. So the woman might think she's
off good... but Jesus adds, "Go
now and leave your life of sin."
(See John 8:2-11.)
Does God find us in our sin?
Is He able to forgive?
YES-- but does He "leave us that
A well-known author Max Lucado wrote, "God
loves you just the way you are, but He refuses to leave you that way."
He didn't intend for us to be selfish,
lonely, hateful, spiteful, resentful, and I can say this without
accusing because I exhibit these traits at different times. It's just
not God's way. He sent His Son so we wouldn't be empty and without hope.
Instead, "We are hard pressed on
every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted,
but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry
around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may
also be revealed in our body." (2 Corinthians 4:8-9, NIV)
Ever have one of those days when life comes
like a fast pitch, intended only to strike you out?
This past year I had been between jobs more
than I care to count; I was robbed and disrespected, and my family at
times did not understand my goals. It is not that the Lord has not
provided for rent or in friendships. On the contrary, I see Him through
so many people, including family!
For me this past year was tough, but in a
way, I enjoyed the trials because I know He is perfecting in me the life
of His Son.
Like Lucado wrote, "He wants us to be just
One person that inspires me is Brother Yun in China. This man has been
to prison and back; he worships God and loves his family; and IS NOT
ASHAMED OF THE GOSPEL. He knows what it is like to fear for his life. He
lives what we read about in Scripture.
Try getting your legs broken and bruised
from beating, then returning to normal without therapy. This happened to
Brother Yun in China just like the miracles we read about in Scripture
that the Apostle Paul encountered including persecutions.
Yun admits at times that he has not
listened to God and hurts for it. I also read about the unity that he
desires for the church. Often doctrine and conflicts divide us, when the
essentials are left in the background, along with servant hood.
Back to Romans 14-- and this is what Paul was talking about: people
think different days are holier than others, and observe them, and some
people won't eat what I eat, and judge each other... but he concludes:
"For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating
and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because
anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men."
(Romans 14:17-18, NIV)
So let's stop judging each other for what each considers holy and
"And let us consider how we may spur one
another on toward love and good deeds. (Hebrews 10:24, NIV)
STOP JUDGING and BE FRUITFUL.
It's about peace and joy-- isn't
it about time?
Kristen Agnew is a
graduate student and a cell group leader
of Living Acts which is part of Oakland International Fellowship, the
English congregation for Pittsburgh Chinese Church-Oakland!