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Finding Fault

December 16th, 2011

“Who are you to judge someone else’s servant?” Romans 14:4 NIV

You do not have the right to judge where you do not have the responsibility to rule.”

My thoughts today are about “finding fault.”

It is too easy to see what someone else is doing wrong, not so simple to notice your own error. Finding fault is incrementally destructive to the happiness of one’s self and others, gradually eroding personal esteem and mutual appreciation. Needing to comment and evaluate everything others do must be wearying. Life is easier when you are not the arbiter of all that’s right or wrong. That is a burden you were never meant to bear, a privilege you were never meant to assume.

The Apostle Paul corrected the Church in Rome for finding fault with one another, “Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own Master he stands or falls, for the Lord is able to make him stand.” Romans 14:4 NIV. Everyone has opinions; opinions do not require you to make a judgment. Many years ago, I heard a valuable Bible teaching about “ruling and judging,” that simplified my life. Basically, the principle is as simple as this: “you do not have the right to judge where you do not have the responsibility to rule.” I think this matter is simplified when you rightly determine where, and for what, God has given you authority. For whom are you responsible? To whom are you accountable?

I confess I have as many opinions as anyone else, and am sometimes too confident in mine. I do not claim to have mastered this Bible principle, simple to understand but far less simple to integrate into everyday life. The practical application is to not confuse your opinion, however strongly held, with a judgment of another being right or wrong. Make generous room for others’ opinions, though differing with your own. It’s a lonely world where you have to be the only one who is always right. Paul warns about “passing judgment on disputable matters.” Romans 14:1-3 NIV. In those “disputable matters,” we must trust ourselves and one another to God’s sufficient grace.

Exercise Godly restraint and graciously allow ample room for differences of culture, background, and preferences. Paul concludes his thoughts with the same question, “Why then . . criticize your brother’s actions? Why try to make him look small? We shall all be judged one day, not by each other’s standards or even by our own, but by the judgment of God . . Help others with encouraging words; don’t drag them down by finding fault.” Romans 14:10-11 JBPhilips/14:19 Message.

Jesus used hyperbole to glaringly contrast one’s concern with a small speck of dust in a friend’s eye while unaware or ignoring the massive impediment in their own, when judging others. “Do not judge or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Read Matthew 7:1-5 NIV. That can be either sobering or incredibly promising to you. God and others have dealt with me graciously; I wish to be more generous in thankful response for that kindness.

My prayer for you today is that you will hold fast to truth in a Godly and gracious way.

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