Judgmentalism often rears its ugly head

It’s easy to become judgmental on issues of personal conviction or on issues the Bible does not address or does not address with the clarity we would like.

The Apostle Paul confronted that kind of problem in Romans 14. Apparently, judgmentalism reared its ugly head in the church at Rome.

There were two groups of people. One group was vegetarian. They abstained from eating meat. Then there was the eat whatever you want to eat crew. I want to sit at their table. “The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him.” (Romans 14:3 NIV)

As you might imagine, the people who ate only vegetables were judgmental toward the people who ate anything. All those who ate anything began to condemn those who ate only vegetables. Each group was being judgmental toward the other.

The vegetarians thought they had the moral high ground, and so they looked down their religious noses at those who ate anything. The eat anything crew thought they were the ones with superior knowledge. They were convinced that what they ate made no difference to God as long as you received it with thanksgiving. So both groups were very judgmental, just in different ways.

Unfortunately, those same attitudes can still creep into the church, now some 2,000 years later. It is easy for any of us to become judgmental toward the people whose views and opinions are different than our own.

And when we hide our judgmentalism under the cloak of Christian conviction, righteousness or holiness, it just makes matters worse. We must be willing to face and expose the ugly truth that when we judge others, we are attempting to occupy a place that is to be reserved only for God.

Here’s Paul’s response to the situation in Rome: “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)

Paul basically said stop trying to play God. He is the judge. Not you. Not me. And when we’re judging others, we are arrogantly placing ourselves in the role of God.

Do you think that might have been what Jesus had in mind in Matthew 7 when he was talking about getting the log out of your own eye before worrying about the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye?

You may read Steve Greene’s blog at pastorgreene.wordpress.com or you can email him at [email protected].