April 20, 2013

Judgment or Forgiveness

Romans 14:1-13

Let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or ob-stacle in the way of a brother or sister.
—Romans 14:13


To people outside the faith, Christians often seem like hypocrites who look on the rest of the world in condemnation. We are seen as critical and self-righteous. And sometimes it’s true. Sometimes our rejection and derision make Christ look bad. We condemn those who have heard only judgment and long for grace. We disapprove of people who have made poor life choices. We wish common sense were a little more common. Our impatience with others for whom Christ died shows how much we need him too.

Sometimes we have been hurt, and our hearts cry out for justice. We want to take judgment into our own hands. Part of forgiveness involves allowing God to take care of justice. We may need good boundaries with those who are still broken, and God ordained civil authorities to restrain crime—but God alone is the judge.

Practically speaking, looking scornfully at our neighbor makes it difficult to share our witness. If we Christians shared the truth of how we have fallen down, the world might receive us better. Admitting our brokenness would allow Jesus’ restoration to shine brighter. If we approached each other as fellow sinners pointing the way to be forgiven, maybe more sinners would follow Christ.

How can you show grace today?

Lord, forgive us for judging one another. Teach us how to share our brokenness and to point others to Christ. Amen.

About the author — Steven and Deb Koster

Steven and Deb Koster have a passion for marriages, families, and spiritual growth in the home. Both are ordained ministers in the Christian Reformed Church in North America. Steven formerly served as editor of Today and director of ReFrame's English-language outreach. Deb leads Family Fire, ReFrame’s family ministry at FamilyFire.com and on Facebook. The Kosters have three children.

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