Let me quickly add, she was not just a parrot, supporting anything I said without a thought just because I said it. I will always remember the day she taught me to stop being so judgmental. I never thought I was, mind you. I avoided it as much as possible--I thought. But it is easy to overlook your own faults and even easier to see the mistakes that others make.
We were discussing assembling. How many times had I used the argument, "If you truly love the Lord, why don't you want to be with his people, learning more about his word as often as possible? How can you feel that way and claim to be his servant?"
"When I was a young Christian," she quietly began, "I never thought about attending the Sunday evening services. I knew it was a good thing that others did, but it just never dawned on me that I needed to go." This was a woman who embodied the Christlike spirit in everything she did. She was kind, generous, and loving. If there was a need for food, she cooked. If there was a need for visiting, she visited. If anyone needed a place to stay, her home was open. If anyone had a monetary need, she and her husband were the first ones there with a check. All the preachers had her support in word and deed, and the elders as well. This was not someone who was looking to do the minimum and still call it "service" as so many seem to. I could not question her love for the Lord and His people, and her neighbors as well. People flocked to her in droves, including little children. How could I ever accuse her of forsaking her Lord? What I had thought were obviously bad motives were not. It had just never crossed her mind that she should do this.
Later in life she began attending those evening services and taught others that they should do the same. And because of her, I learned to be patient and stop judging the motives of others as I had for so long. Now as I look at the great divide over the Covid virus, I see the same things—young people who see the older as faithless, and older folks who see the younger as unloving. While that may be the case for some, may I dare to suggest that both of you might possibly be wrong? Not being able to see things from another angle is not something to celebrate and brag about. Each group must respect the other: Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him (Rom 14:3). If we cannot apply this to our own day's problems, why has it been saved for us? After this instruction not to judge (either side), Paul goes on to tell us why we have no right to judge: Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand (Rom 14:4). You're getting too big for your britches, he says. You have no right to judge God's servant in these kinds of matters. And don't tell me he is only talking about opinions but your judgement is about matters of faith. He was talking about people who couldn't help but worship idols when they ate meat—that's idolatry, not some opinion (1 Cor 8:7).
Take a good look at yourself. Are you judging people as having evil motives? You are when you say a man of high risk is faithless for staying home from the assembling. Are you judging people as lacking compassion? You are when you take their statements that they feel the necessity of assembling regardless the danger as an aspersion on you. I wish you had a friend like mine who made me see myself clearly. I hope maybe I have been able to help you that way today.
Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor? (Jas 4:11-12).