Romans 14:12-13 (NLT)
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.

The apostle wrote the church about the dangers of criticism. Christians were engaged in various arguments from what day was best to worship; what foods should be eaten and which should not; and how one was to honor the Lord. The apostle said we should quite condemning each other and instead consider ourselves and how we live out our Christian life. The apostle said we should do so in a way that keeps other believers from falling away.

A grocery store check-out clerk once wrote to advice-columnist Ann Landers to complain that she had seen people buy "luxury" food items�like birthday cakes and bags of shrimp�with their food stamps. The writer went on to say that she thought all those people on welfare who treated themselves to such non-necessities were "lazy and wasteful." A few weeks later Lander's column was devoted entirely to people who had responded to the grocery clerk. One woman wrote: I didn't buy a cake, but I did buy a big bag of shrimp with food stamps. So what? My husband had been working at a plant for fifteen years when it shut down. The shrimp casserole I made was for our wedding anniversary dinner and lasted three days. Perhaps the grocery clerk who criticized that woman would have a different view of life after walking a mile in my shoes. Another woman wrote: I'm the woman who bought the $17 cake and paid for it with food stamps. I thought the check-out woman in the store would burn a hole through me with her eyes. What she didn't know is the cake was for my little girl's birthday. It will be her last. She has bone cancer and will probably be gone within six to eight months. [Terrie Williams, The Personal Touch (Warner Books, 1994)]

Sometimes we are quick to criticize because we have created beliefs that are ours and not God�s. We see things only through the eyes of the world and miss out on what God has to say to us. Next time before being critical of someone ask God how your criticism might affect that person and what their criticism of you might be. Live in such a way that you will not cause other believers to stumble and fall.