Romans 14:13-23, 10 verses to peruse today.
Therefore… that’s a connector word. Connecting one passage with another. Remember that God is the one that judges? We can’t judge each other, we are all under God’s authority. So what should we do instead?
13 Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother.
Make a decision to do this: To not put stumbling blocks in front of each other. Don’t hinder each other in our journey of faith.
It’s not an easy thing though you know? Paul gives the example of the type of food we eat or drink… One might consider it clean and another unclean. If one of your number considers it wrong to do, then don’t do it. Who are you to cause another to stumble or to wander in their faith?
14 I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean. 15 For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died. 16 So do not let what you regard as good be spoken of as evil. 17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. 19 So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.
Remember…what’s our first priority. Are we serving God? Are we about the building up of the Kingdom of God? Are we focusing on righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit? Pursue these things. Don’t focus on the divisions and the trivialities… focus on the big picture…the building up of the Kingdom of God.
20 Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for anyone to make another stumble by what he eats. 21 It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble.
Again see this truth… do not do things to cause your fellow believer to stumble in their faith.
I have to admit, I struggle with this.
I used to work for an organization that insisted that if I was out in public doing my own thing, and if I had been one to enjoy a beer, if I was on my own time and someone came up from work (I worked in special needs) i would immediately have to stop doing what I was doing or I would be fired or subject to a disciplinary hearing. I remember thinking… how incredibly unfair is that?!?!?! I still think that way. Institutional demands of one brand of thinking… there needs to be room for faith to grow and become stronger.
On the same token though, if I knew someone who was struggling with addiction issues, I wouldn’t choose to tempt faith by flaunting whatever they are addicted to in their path. I want to be a lending hand to help them on their way.
22 The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who has no reason to pass judgment on himself for what he approves. 23 But
whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not
from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.
Faith is the key element you see? If you know by faith that God allows a thing, and you know you aren’t contravening scripture, then do it. BUT if you have any doubt at all.. don’t do it because you aren’t operating from a faith stand-point.
Cause you know ultimately… we answer to God for how we live out our faith. No one else can answer for us. All we need to do is this…not cause another to stumble in their faith, and to live out our faith as best we can. That’s it. No passing judgement.
Again I find this hard. How do you challenge another without SEEMING to pass judgement? For instance, those who say you can live in a manner that is sinful, and yet they are firmly convinced that how they want to live isn’t sinful, that it’s just a misunderstanding. How does one gently encourage them to reexamine scripture? How does one do this without sitting in judgement? It’s such a fine line and I’m not sure I always know where it is. You know what I mean?
What Say You? I’d like to know your thoughts.
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