Meat or Vegetables?

Romans 14:1-9 (ESV)

As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. 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. 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. One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God. For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.

This has long been one of my favorite passages. For although it speaks of eating meat or not, it is not only speaking of actual food. There are many things in our daily walk that are not specifically covered by the Scriptures. This passage teaches that we are not to worry about other people’s actions on questionable matters. It is not talking about things specifically covered by the Scriptures, but about the grey areas, if you will.

God is so good to us. He gives us this world to care for, and to feed and clothe us. We should therefore live for Him in unity and grace. We need to give grace to others, just as He gave it to us. So if you see your brother or sister in Christ doing something that bothers you, but is not forbidden in the Scriptures, give him or her grace, realize that they are doing what their conscience allows, and do not let it be a stumbling block for you.

There are those who make doctrines out of their opinions: No dancing, No playing cards, No smoking, No drinking, etc. These are not areas that we should encroach upon their freedom to choose. The smoking and drinking, actually any area if done to excess can actually be harmful, so if you see excess, perhaps in love, a person could approach another on those issues, but I would have to know a person pretty well, before attempting that. A casual acquaintance will not listen, especially if there is excess; by habit, or addiction.

Let us all mind the admonition that Jesus gave in Matthew 7:3-5 (ESV) “Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. ” In other words, unless we are perfect—and I am certainly not in that camp—we need to clean house before we worry about others. We are called to call our brethren to accountability, but to restore in love, not judgment.

by Virgil Stripes

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