There is something that many of us do that is hard to admit…we judge others. From walking through the store wondering why someone would dress a certain way to passing judgment on a person’s political views we often compare our views and beliefs to others and are not always considerate and loving.  In Romans 14, Paul’s primary instruction in this passage is to refrain from passing judgment on others. It is simple and straightforward, but not always easy. Dietary laws and the observance of special holy days were two things in contention that were deeply rooted in religious and ethnic culture. Even in our twenty-first-century world, many find great importance in these issues. It is often that the culture of the church dictates how certain rituals and practices should be conducted.

Can we learn to be gracious and hospitable to each other despite our differences? In a time when tensions continue to run high regarding politics and issues surrounding COVID-19, it does not take a lot for people to completely lose control and treat others badly. To be a person who loves others means we must give great attention to patience and tolerance. God accepts people on both sides of an issue. Paul uses the master/slave relationship to illustrate his point. Where a slave had no right to pass judgment on another slave, only the master of a slave had the right to judge. This equates to Jesus Christ alone having the right to judge.

Beloved, the best we can do is live our lives as a reflection of our Creator. When we encounter those who do not share the same principles, it is not up to us to point out the differences. It is our responsibility to shine the light of Christ in all that we do. Only God is capable of dispensing judgment fairly. Paul urges us to have respect for one another despite the different perspectives that are brought to the table. May we be gracious to others and respond in love.