Romans 14: 1-12
1Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions.
2One person has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables only.
3The one who eats is not to regard with contempt the one who does not eat, and the one who does not eat is not to judge the one who eats, for God has accepted him.
4Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.
5One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind.
6He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord, and he who eats, does so for the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who eats not, for the Lord he does not eat, and gives thanks to God.
7For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself;
8for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.
9For to this end Christ died and lived again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.
10But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God.
11For it is written,
“AS I LIVE, SAYS THE LORD, EVERY KNEE SHALL BOW TO ME,
AND EVERY TONGUE SHALL GIVE PRAISE TO GOD.”
12So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God.
Paul spoke about this earlier in Romans, when he mentions “each man according to his own faith”. As Christians, it is very easy for us to take the moral righteousness road and feel the need to tell people when they are “doing it wrong”. Who are we? That’s God’s job to tell us we’re doing it wrong.
Certainly, there are things in life that we do or not do out of respect for God. The reason for Paul explaining this concept is the converted Jews were so habitual about their religious practices, that they shunned gentile Christians for not doing these things and the Gentile Christians shunned the Jews for doing things.
As Paul has laid out for us in this book, no deed will grant us salvation or a better place in front of God. I believe that it is our duty as Christians to be wary of falling into that trap and also helping each other not fall into that method of thinking. BUT, it does not mean to ostracize each other and scoff at them for being “wrong”.
I struggled with this a little last year. I had started paying attention to a pastor who teaches these things. He teaches about what we traditionally do as Christians that miss what Christianity is about. I think that is great. The delivery, however, wasn’t so great. As I listened I grew pompous and became angry about how people did things. Maybe it was a message that just fueled my tendency towards anger. The problem I found with it is simply telling someone that everything they are doing is wrong doesn’t help anybody. By telling my I’m wrong doesn’t help me be a better Christian. It makes me feel guilt and shame. Is that something I’m supposed to feel as a Christian? Christ paid for my sins, there’s nothing I should feel guilty about. So where’s the balance?
Paul tells us here that God is the only one who is to judge us for what we do. That one day we will need to give account for all we have done. In relation to the weak and strong in faith…I believe it is the duty of the strong to strengthen the weak. Certainly, the stronger in faith should try to guide the weaker, but not in a manner of judging or ostracizing them. Rather, as kind words of wisdom so they can live the freer life Christ guaranteed for us that we are trying to wholly realize. In like fashion, the weaker should look up to and respect those in stronger faith and search out the way to live this freedom.
As a final note, we should keep in mind these things we do “for God”. Our world history shows us time and again when people have killed for God. Christ taught us “Love the Lord your God with all your heart…and love your neighbor as you love yourself.” Killing someone isn’t any form of love. Violence, stealing, cheating, etc. are not things Christ calls us to do in order to glorify Him. So, if you are motivated to do something to worship Him, make sure you check your motives first.
We are all weaker and stronger than someone else we know in faith.
How can you strengthen someone else?
Who can you look to for help in strengthening yourself?