“Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing
judgment on disputable matters. One man’s faith allows
him to eat everything, but another man,
whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. The man who
eats everything must not look down on him who does not,
and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man
who does, for God has accepted him. ”
Today, many people instantly feel judged when they walk into a church. This is because many Christians have different ideas about taboos from wearing zippers instead of buttons to working on Sundays and drinking beer or smoking. However, Romans 14:1-15:13 teaches us how we should treat a fellow brother or sister in Christ. Discussing what a man eats and then what days someone sees as holy (Romans 14:5-6) are only examples about how we should not judge others based on doctrinal matters or religious practice. Many churches have different rules. Some do not use musical instruments and others require a formal dress. But this does not make them any more or less of a follower of Christ.
“If we live, we live to the Lord; and if
we die, we die to the Lord. So whether we live
or die, we belong to the Lord.”
We have no place judging another man who is God’s child. We can judge character so we know who we should follow and hang around. But only to that extent. That is God's place alone, for it is his creation and he is the ultimate judge. We cannot condemn a man to Hell or give him a place in Heaven amongst the angels.
“Who are you to judge someone else’s servant?
To his own master he stands or falls. And he
will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.”
“You then, why do you judge your brother?
Or why do you look down on your brother?
For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat.”
The strong are supposed to lift the weak, not in silent matters that the bible does not address but in matters that the bible speaks strongly and loudly about (premarital sex, homosexuality, gossip, jealousy, unrighteous anger, slander, etc.) and the weak should not judge the strong about what they are doing either. What one man believes and does (in matters such as instruments, buttons vs. zippers, etc.) is his own choice and his interpretation of what should be or not be done.
“But if anyone regards something as unclean then
for him it is unclean.”
We must keep each other from stumbling and act in love. If one brother believes something is unclean, do not do or say anything that will anger him. Keep what you believe between you and God (Romans 14:22) but rather help lift him up by not partaking in eating the unclean thing.
“If your brother is distressed because of what
you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your
eating destroy your brother for whom Christ died.”
“Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads
to peace and to mutual edification. Do not
destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food
is clean, but it is wrong for a man to eat anything that causes
someone else to stumble. It is better not to eat meat of drink wine or to
do anything else that will cause your brother to fall.”
The duty of a strong Christian is to lift the weak and less mature in spirit (Romans 15:1). Christ came not to please and help himself but rather to help those who needed saving, the unbelievers and the spiritually weak. We need to unify ourselves as the body of Christ and accept one another. For through faith we are all saved and share the same Father. You can lead a man to knowledge, but you can’t make him think. However, Romans 14 and 15 should not be used to support homosexuality or abortion or anything else the Lord declares wrong and sinful. We need to remember, Jesus is our savior, not a religion and each man and woman must give account of himself to the Lord. Don’t let judgment and wrongful criticism destroy you.