Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God.
I believe true character is revealed in the dark, or when nobody’s at home, when no one is watching. What you do in private reflects what you truly are in the heart, but I know that the dark is like daylight to God (Psalm 139:12). What do you do differently when no one is watching? Very convicting, isn’t it? I have to consider that even if no one else is watching, God is. I would do a lot of things differently if I knew no one was watching but probably do things differently in other people’s sight if I knew they’d never judge me for it, particularly on those things that are non-essentials and in the grey areas where the Bible is silent. It’s amazing how people can be so vocal on things where the Bible is silent, but for me, where the Bible is silent, so must I be.
What Would You Do Differently?
I have performed weddings. I don’t drink alcohol, but I don’t judge people who do, of course with the realization that drunkenness is sin. However, one lady was insistent that it was sin to drink alcohol, but the toast at the wedding party for the bride and the bridegroom I thought was a special occasion. I was not about to judge them for toasting to their new marriage in celebration with a little bit of champagne. I made an exception and drank a toast (one glass) to them. People knew I was the pastor, and inevitably I got a few looks, but I thought it’s what God thinks that really matters. That one lady was not about to ruin my or this wedding celebration. I ask myself, if I knew that lady was a strict prohibitionist before I toasted the couple, would I have toasted to the new couple? Yes, I think I would have anyway. I’d hope she wouldn’t pass judgment on me or the couple, but I think she did because she didn’t want to have anything to do with me or the couple the rest of the evening when before she was quite conversational with everyone. That’s okay–I can live with it with no guilt.
The Judgment Seat of Christ
Every one of us will have to stand before Christ at His return (2 Cor. 5:10), but thankfully it will be for rewards (Matt. 16:27) and not for our sins, which have been forgiven by Christ’s work at the cross. Everyone will receive their rewards or the lack thereof. But Paul was scolding the church at Rome for judging others for non-essential things. Some judged others for what they ate or what days they observed (Rom. 14:5-6), but we are accountable only to God (Rom. 14:12) for our own actions. At the judgment seat, our brothers and sisters will not be there seated with Christ. No, they will have their own time, and we are not accountable to them but only to God. So now let me ask you that rhetorical question: What would you do differently if you knew nobody would judge you? If you’re like me, probably a lot of things.
A Closing Prayer
Father, please help me to not judge others on things that are not clearly marked as sinful in the Bible and to accept the differences of others, for You are their judge and not I. Thank You for this understanding coming from Your Word, and in Christ’s holy name I pray.
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