Don't be a Donna June {Romans 14}

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By Lisa Moore

Every time I read this chapter in Romans, in my mind I hear my Grandmother's voice saying to me as she did many times, "Don't be a Donna June!"  Donna June was a friend of hers who would often come to visit and share a cup of coffee, a cookie, or perhaps a slice of cake.  I remember sitting in the kitchen enjoying my own snack and listening intently to her and my Grandmother's conversations about life, the people at church, and their views on faith.  Donna June was impressive.  There wasn't a Bible verse she couldn't recite, or a chapter she didn't know inside and out.  And boy she wasn't afraid to let you know it.  She would quiz me on the spot about the Bible, and if I didn't know the answer she would look down her nose at me while shaking her head.  My encounters with her always left me feeling so discouraged.  She was regarded as what my Grandmother called  a "know it all".  As a child whenever I was being "a know it all", my Grandmother would whisper in my ear, "Don't be a Donna June".  

Christians judging fellow believers goes against what Jesus taught.  Although the Bible is very specific about holding each other accountable, judgment and accountability are two very different things.  Accountability comes from a heart of love, judgement from a heart of pride.  In Romans 14 Paul begins, "Now accept the one that is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgement on his opinions." (v. 1)  Each of us are at different levels of spiritual maturity.  Some are stronger and some weaker than others.  What makes one person stumble, can be no problem for the next.  We each grow at our own pace.  And as long as whatever decisions we make, or actions we take are based on the guidance of the Holy Spirit and with the intention of honoring God, they aren't up for judgement.  "One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike.  Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind." (v. 5)  We have no right to judge God's people.  It is only He who knows the true intentions of someone's heart.  We all belong to the Lord.  He purchased us for a high price through the shedding of His precious blood, and He is the only one worthy to judge.  

Paul goes on to instruct us to make sure our own "ducks are in a row" because one day we will each stand before the judgement seat of God.  "For it is written, 'As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me and every tongue shall give praise to God.'  So then each of us will give an account of himself to God." (vs. 11-12)  God makes it pretty clear that we ought to be judging our own actions, not the actions of others.  I don't know about you, but I have enough in my life that needs work and change to worry about the short comings of others.  Instead Paul says, "..let us not judge one another anymore, but rather determine this-not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother's way." (v. 13)  We are to be an encouragement to one another, each one supporting the other to grow in faith.  Instead of worrying about being right we should focus on helping, always teaching and sharing in love and humbleness.  Our lives are to be led not just for own our own freedoms and desires, but we are to also to, "...pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another." (v. 19)  That is how we honor God. 

So the next time you find yourself criticizing or judging another, take a moment to stop and remember the words of Paul who tells us that the kingdom of God isn't about putting ourselves above others...especially to their detriment.  The kingdom of God is, "righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit." (v. 17)  And remember the whispered words of my Grandmother, "Don't be a Donna June."

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