12 Yes, each of us will give a personal account to God. 13 So let’s stop condemning each other. Decide instead to live in such a way that you will not cause another believer to stumble and fall.
— Romans 14:12-13 NLT

There's a song that Tupac sang called "Only God Can Judge Me". I've never listened to it (and this isn't me endorsing you to go listen to it), but I guess because of American pop culture, I've always known that quote. I've seen people with tattoos of it, and heard it more than the average phrase over the course of my life. No, I'm not saying that Tupac is the perfect interpretation of what God wanted to communicate through these verses, but I think there is some truth in the title.

It's true that one day we will stand before God and give him a personal account of our lives. Let's take that verse from the angle of how it should affect the way we treat other people, specifically Christians, since that is what the rest of this chapter talks about. Because God is the ultimate judge, we get to relieve ourself of that duty when it comes to the other people in our life who are also truly following Jesus. Does this mean that you shouldn't have a conversation with someone who you know is actively, intentionally living in sin? Of course not, go have that conversation. But if there are other Christians in your life (friends, family, classmates, small group members, etc.) who might have a different perspective on something where there isn't a clear cut right answer, verse 13 tells you to love and serve them anyway. The paragraph after this goes into detail about how Paul knew that it was okay to eat anything, and that not food in and of itself was unclean. But he had people around him who didn't agree with that. Instead of trying to explain to those people why he was right and they were wrong, he chose to love and serve them instead. He chose to keep the relationship over burning the bridge right then and there.

unity

Unity within the body of Christ is an interesting to think about. We are supposed to be the most loving, united people the world has ever seen, yet we have denominations dividing us because we disagree on certain issues. We have political opinions that divide us, we have theological opinions divide us, and we have lifestyle opinions that divide us. What if, instead of focusing on the things that divide the church, everyone were to focus on the thing that should unite the Church. Jesus. What if instead of focusing on the things that divide you from family or friends who may live their life a little differently, or go to a different type of church, or have a little bit different view of the Bible, you reminded yourself that you all follow Jesus, who died and was resurrected.

The main thing that it will take in order to accomplish this in your life and in the church is more reliance on the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit's job is to act as the voice and wisdom of God in our life, leading us into the knowledge and understanding of who He is. What you do when you tell someone that their opinion is wrong and yours is right is you are saying is correct over the voice of God in their life. I am not saying that you should have opinions, but what these verses are saying is never let your opinions be what divides your relationships. It is better to keep a relationship and let your opinion not be known than share your opinion and lose the place of influence that you have in a person's life.

Just so we can come full circle with the rap references, in the words of T.I., just "Live Your Life" (and ask Daniel Simmons to rap this for you).

pray

To end you can pray this:

God, humble me to know that I don't have all the answers. Help me to love and serve your people around me above all else. Put convictions in my life that help me experience and know you more. Help me to understand the convictions you have put in others lives as well. Amen.

-Nick