Troublesome Topic: Don’t Judge Others

Whatever I choose to do regarding Sabbath, I need to be careful to not judge others. A theme that keeps resurfacing in Paul’s writings is that we should not judge others if they express their relationship with God differently than we do, and that includes how they observe the Sabbath.

Consider Romans 14:5-8

Romans 14:5


Indeed one judges

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a day to be above another day; however, one judges every day. May each one be completely assured in his own mind.


Indeed, one person esteems one day as more sacred than the other days, while another person esteems all days equally high. Each person must make up his mind and be full persuaded of his own position.

Romans 14:6


The one who observes the day, observes it to the Lord…


The person who is careful to make this day special does so in honor to the Lord…

Romans 14:7


For not one of us lives to himself, and not one of us dies to himself.


For none of us live for our own honor and none of us die for our own honor.

Romans 14:8


If we should live, we live to the Lord; if we should die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, if we live or if we die, we are the Lord’s.


If we are allowed to live, we will live to honor the Lord; if we die sooner than expected, we will die to honor the Lord. Therefore the outcome is the same; if we live or if we die, we belong to the Lord because we seek His honor regardless of what happens.

Paul is not telling people they do not need to rest on the Sabbath day, he is saying we should not judge each other for the way we do things, and that includes how we observe the Sabbath. When Paul says that “another person esteems all days equally high,” he is referring to people who try to see all days as special gifts from God and therefore as holy. He is not talking about people who treat all days as equally profane, or as theirs to use as they please. Another way to rephrase Paul’s words would be this: “One person makes a big deal about one day of the week, another makes a big deal of all the days of the week.” The important thing to take away from this passage is to “give people room to be themselves.”

Under the New Covenant God gives us some flexibility to decide how we want to apply the principles He is teaching us. One of those principles is that we should set aside one day a week to connect with God and family and therefore that day should be treated differently than the rest. What that looks like for you will be different than what it looks like for me. But all of us should be making the effort to make that day special, to set it apart as holy; it should be our delight for it is the sacredness of connecting with God bound by recognizable parameters of time.

The next lesson is Crave Time with God and Make it Happen



The basic idea of “judge” is to “separate” in order to know which to punish and which to reward. Thus this word can result in negative consequences or in positive ones. In this case it is all positive, with either one day or all the days receiving special treatment.