The Lord has had me repent of pride in correcting a brother or sister many years ago. He showed me:
Romans 14:1-4 “Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things. 2For one believes he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables. 3Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats; for God has received him. 4Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand.”
As I prayed about the meaning of it, the Lord reminded me of how He restored Peter after He had denied Jesus. Remember that Peter had boasted in pride about his own faith that he would never abandon Jesus or deny Him. Yet, he did deny Him three times within Jesus’ hearing just as Jesus told him he would do. When Jesus restored him and asked him if he loved Him, He told Peter what he could do as an act of love toward Him.
It was Jesus’ passion and purpose to die for all of mankind so that they wouldn’t have to spend eternity in hell. Jesus wanted Peter to “feed My sheep.” Many today think that they are to beat the sheep into subjection, but if we do that we are beating the very ones Jesus died for and instructed not just Peter, but all of us to do… feed His sheep.
We get so caught up in being “right” about an issue that even if we don’t beat them, many times we do not feed them. We all grow at different rates. Also, we have not all had the same life experiences to learn from. So where one may be more mature in one area, the other may be more mature in another because God has already brought them through certain trials to teach them. Jesus would rebuke His disciples from time to time about having little faith, but that is fine, He is the Lord.
Romans COMMANDS US to bear with those who are weak in faith either in all areas or in just some areas of life. Jesus isn’t concerned about how RIGHT WE ARE in a debate, He wants us to lead and plead with not only the sinner but also the faithful who simply may not understand. HE IS NOT WILLING THAT ANY SHOULD PERISH. He rebuked the Pharisees for traveling land and sea to win one convert but then because of their harsh rigidness would make that convert more a “child of hell” than they themselves were.
Romans 14:9-11 “For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living. 10But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. 11For it is written:
“As I live, says the LORD,
Every knee shall bow to Me,
And every tongue shall confess to God.”
We see here that God will have His day and that one day everyone will know He is Lord. The question is, did we show everyone in our life the love and forgiveness that Christ did so that they could know Jesus died for them. Could they look at the way we treated them and know it was true that Jesus cried out from the cross, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”
John 3:17 “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” Do we negate such a message of love by being harsh with our brethren? Romans 14 is saying that we are RIGHT in thinking we can now eat foods as long as is is received with thanksgiving, but if our eating of that food causes our brother to be offended then we have sinned against our brother.
Romans 14:12-18 “So then each of us shall give account of himself to God. 13 Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way.
14 I know and am convinced by the Lord Jesus that there is nothing unclean of itself; but to him who considers anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean. 15 Yet if your brother is grieved because of your food, you are no longer walking in love. Do not destroy with your food the one for whom Christ died. 16 Therefore do not let your good be spoken of as evil; 17 for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 For he who serves Christ in these things is acceptable to God and approved by men.”
Yes, we are to “prove all things” but we must be cautious in the way in which we do it. We must prove things, not people’s hearts, that’s the work of the Holy Spirit, not ours. I see all too often mere men trying to do the work of the Holy Spirit and it is ruinous in the hearts of the hearers!
This is what the Holy Spirit was saying through Paul inRomans 14:22 “Do you have faith? Have it to yourself before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves.” In other words, don’t go around all puffed up because you have faith in areas that others don’t. Don’t be haughty because you understand and someone else doesn’t. We are ambassadors of Christ, we have been given a ministry of reconciliation, so that the world and even the apostate church, His bride for whom He died, would be reconciled unto Him.
Romans 14:19-22 “Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another. 20Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All things indeed are pure, but it is evil for the man who eats with offense. 21It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak. 22Do you have faith? Have it to yourself before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves.”
When I get too critical of others, the Lord reminds me of this scripture.
James 5:9-11 “Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned. Behold, the Judge is standing at the door! 10My brethren, take the prophets, who spoke in the name of the Lord, as an example of suffering and patience. 11Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord—that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful.”
My heart breaks for some of the bickering I’ve seen within the church and I kept silent asking for the Lord to intervene by His Spirit and I would not speak up until He instructed me to. Children of God, we must get back to feeding His sheep, His sheep, His sheep, they aren’t ours to do with what we will!! Behold, the Judge is at the door!!! And He has a message for His church! GET OUT OF MY SEAT!!!!!!
May God have mercy on us all. Please LORD, restore us unto Yourself!
[I broke some of it up into smaller paragraphs. Sorry, Dennis. I just like short paragraphs. Mind mind absorbs the truth better.]