Daily Devotional January 19th
“Who are you to condemn someone else’s servants? Their own master will judge whether they stand or fall. And with the Lord’s help, they will stand and receive his approval.” (Romans 14:4)
Today, I want to pick up where I left off yesterday, with Job trying to make sense of his suffering. I had suggested that one of the truths that we can glean from his story is that not all suffering comes as a result of being punished for wrongdoing. We must also take into account the fact that we live in a world that has been thoroughly infected with sin. Not to mention the mysterious workings of God, whose ways are beyond our ability to fully understand, as was the case in Job’s life. Because of these diverse reasons for suffering, another truth becomes crystal clear from Job’s story. We should be reticent to make judgments of another, something most of us are too quick to do.
Some people love to quote the verse, “Judge not lest ye be judged” (Matthew 7:1). They use it as a blanket statement in an attempt to prevent others from calling out sin…sometimes their own. But this is a misreading of the passage. There are many other verses that speak of the need to rightly assess and correct others, especially fellow believers.
• Matthew 18:15 “If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back.”
• Galatians 6:1 “Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself.”
• 1 Timothy 5:20 “Those who [persist to] sin should be reprimanded in front of the whole church; this will serve as a strong warning to others.”
In the face of blatant sin, especially as it is found in the body of Christ, we are to remember that we are all sinful and in need of correction from time to time. We are not to be silent; but we are instructed to bring about loving correction for the purpose of restoration. That is not what we find in Job’s story, however. Even though Job’s friends had not witnessed any ‘sin,’ they made judgments against his character based on his life circumstances. And therein lies the problem. How can we judge another’s character based on their circumstances in life. Yes, poor choices do lead to regrettable consequences, but how can we judge another simply by the circumstances in which they find themselves. Each of us can point to times when we may have found ourselves suffering—ill health, loss of a job, death of a loved one, painful choices made by others—with no discernible reason. And while we often resent having others make judgments of us, we need to be just as quick to check our own presumptions. Could it be at times that those we find suffering are actually the most faithful of God’s servants? Job’s story certainly lends itself to this reality and should give us considerable pause before we give into the temptation of trying to assign guilt to an individual based on their life circumstances.
~ Pastor Jane
First licensed for pastoral ministry in 1994, Pastor Jane Peck has served in camp and church ministries in three denominations, five provinces and in a variety of roles. Her most recent position is that of Pastor at Hope Chapel which she began in 2020. She is excited to see what God can and will do in the days to come!