Let us therefore no longer pass judgment on one another, but resolve instead never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of another.
~ Romans 14:13 (NRSV).
What a good relationship rule to live life by! Lived out, it's an astounding commitment in choosing for others' welfare, disposed for them and not so much for the self. It reeks of meekness and humility.
There are two very good components to this short conclusive exhortation of the Apostle Paul's as he connects a new concept to one just covered (in Romans 14: 1-12).
1. Start Issuing Grace and Give the Benefit of Any Doubt (Stop Judging)
Rather than focusing on the negative- "stop judging" -there is a better, more productive focus. It's a view of life that's zealously inclusive; the hungry desire for dynamic harmony above all.
As Paul has just finished showing us, we are not our own; we're the Lord's. We are accountable to God (verse 12). We seek to live in ways that please God.
We're to issue grace and the benefit of any doubt that might exist, and considering that we make many assumptions, a circumspect approach to relationships means more love and less conflict caused through lazy and carefree judgment.
But we can make this practice of issuing grace and giving the benefit of any doubt more tangible by removing barriers that prove a hindrance.
2. Resolve to Remove Barriers
When there is a commitment to love someone there's an equally fundamental commitment to stop doing things that will bear out as hindrances to relational progress. Rapidly, sight is seen of these and amends are made – if possible – before problems arise. The intuition is used. Antennae are high.
When people are on active lookout to foresee problems it's a good sign of love working its way through the heart of the relationship. Success is assured.
Seamless Love – A Beauty of Trust
There is a seamless nature to relationships when all manner of threat to them is removed. Suddenly, the trust that typically runs at a premium can become commonplace and rapport goes from strength to strength.
What is seamless – as an image – is bereft of crack or imperfection (or faults, whilst discernible, are accepted in rapturous love). It's the appropriate vision for any godly relationship. At once the other person's welfare is every bit as important as ours is; it overshadows personal concern.
The next and final challenge is to create this sort of view regarding others with all people we meet and interact with.
Copyright (c) 2011 SJ Wickham.