Using Romans 14 as our anchor scripture, in part one of this post, we looked at how the devil is using our differences in dividing the church and why we shouldn’t condemn and force our personal convictions on others.
Paul balances the equation by showing us the second part to this. From verse 14-23, he tells us that inasmuch as we shouldn’t tear each other down because of personal differences, we all should beware that what we don’t make others stumble.
As christians we have been called out of the kingdom of this world into the kingdom of God. Every kingdom has a way of doing things. The English monarchy have standards. They don’t just do as they like. So it is in the spiritual realm. We belong to the kingdom of God and in God’s kingdom, there is a standard. As a result of this standard, we can’t accept every invitation. There are places we can’t go, certain things we can’t wear and things we can’t do. Some of these things aren’t sin themselves but for the sake of those who are young in faith, we can’t do them.
For example, i am youth leader in my church and i also mentor a girls group that i founded. Many times i get invited to places where i can’t go. For example, at work my team do go for night outs. These events they do so they can bond and know each other more outside work which does sound good. If these events are held in pubs or clubs, i don’t attend. If i choose to attend an event in a pub, it isn’t a sin. However if one of the young guys i lead see me sat on a table filled with alcohol and friends who are drinking away, he might take it as a permit to drink and be drunk.
The same goes for dressing. If i decide to wear something very revealing just because i am going on a date with my husband someone young in faith may see me and take my look as an acceptable look. We do not dress for people; however we dress to reflect the kingdom we belong to.
15 And if another believer is distressed by what you eat, you are not acting in love if you eat it. Don’t let your eating ruin someone for whom Christ died. 16 Then you will not be criticized for doing something you believe is good.
18 If you serve Christ with this attitude, you will please God, and others will approve of you, too.19 So then, let us aim for harmony in the church and try to build each other up.
20 Don’t tear apart the work of God over what you eat. Remember, all foods are acceptable, but it is wrong to eat something if it makes another person stumble. 21 It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything else if it might cause another believer to stumble.[c] 22 You may believe there’s nothing wrong with what you are doing, but keep it between yourself and God. Blessed are those who don’t feel guilty for doing something they have decided is right. 23 But if you have doubts about whether or not you should eat something, you are sinning if you go ahead and do it. For you are not following your convictions. If you do anything you believe is not right, you are sinning.
I will also like to add that as christians, we all have a responsibility to guard our heart. We shouldn’t be blaming every sin we commit on someone. If seeing someone’s knee makes you stumble then i suppose you need to work on yourself. We need to know that we are to discipline ourselves seeing that we are expected to grow as believers. We can’t be stumbling over someone’s eyeshadow and lip liner.
I love verse 22 – Blessed are those who don’t feel guilty for doing something they have decided is right. The keywords here are ‘feel guilty‘. Feeling guilty in this context refers to conviction. I always follow my convictions and ask myself if i will wear what i am wearing or do what i’m doing if Jesus was standing with me physically. If the answer is no, then that outfit is leaving my wardrobe and i stop myself from doing whatever it is i wanted to do. But if i am not convicted about it, then i am free to wear it.
In conclusion, let’s be mindful of what we do. People are always watching us. Let’s ensure someone isn’t refusing to accept Jesus Christ because of our lifestyle. We should point others to Jesus Christ not make them run away from Him. Our aim should be to help our brothers and sisters make heaven; not to make them continue struggling with sin.
Thank you so much for reading.