Rom 14:4-6 “Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand. One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.”
If we have been blessed with the mind of Christ, then we are able to discern whether or not someone’s actions are good or evil. The scripture certainly tells us that we can judge (know) a tree by its fruit. Having the ability to make this sort of judgment is necessary if we are to comprehend Peter’s instruction to eschew evil and do good (1 Peter 3:11). However, being able to make a right judgment about fruit does not give us liberty to judge other men.
The essence of Paul’s question here is simply “What do you think gives you the right to judge someone else’s servant?” It is one thing to judge a man’s action and quite another to assume that we can judge that man’s heart. If all we knew of David was his illicit affair with Bathsheba and his subsequent murder of Uriah, what would our natural judgment of David be? Based on these actions, David does not sound like someone we would want to keep company with.
If we stop to consider our own lives based solely on some of our actions, how would we judge ourselves? I can certainly attest to the fact that not all my thoughts or actions are good. No one is under any obligation to judge my bad actions as being ok. Yet, no one has the right to judge who I truly am in my heart if I belong to God.
We have no right to condemn another man’s servant. We may be able to determine by his actions that he does not appear to be a very good servant. However, he is not our servant. Only the master of the house can decide to condemn or uphold that servant because he alone has the right of possession.
As we take stock of our own walk and the walk of those around us, we need to remember this one simple truth. We belong to God. He is the only Master, and before Him and Him alone do we stand or fall. Regardless of how bad our fruit may be in a season of life (consider David’s actions), God is ultimately able to make us stand. That power is His and His alone.
We may well look at a brother or sister and think that we would not do some thing or other that they may be involved in. I have known brethren who were adamantly opposed to celebrating birthdays because they felt it was not Biblical to do so. Others rejoice greatly in the anniversary of one another year of life. Yet, both those that refused to celebrate and those that enjoyed doing so did it with thanksgiving unto God. It was not so much their action as their conviction behind that action that was important.
I have family members who are vegan. They will not eat anything that is animal based (including dairy and eggs), nor will they wear anything that was made from an animal. I enjoy a good hamburger and I like real leather shoes. They thank God for His provision for them as I thank Him for His provision for me.
There are certainly things in this life that are evil (adultery, murder, stealing, etc.). There are other things that might not seem good to me that seem perfectly fine to you (only meeting at a particular church once a month versus meeting there every Sunday). While we need to be able to recognize that which is truly evil and call it such, we need to also remember that it is the action that we judge. There is only One who has the right to judge the servant (James 4:12).
May we pass our days in godly reverence before the One who has both the right and the ability to judge His servants, and by His grace may we be holden up!