Romans 14:13-18

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, November 23, 2015 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

“Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean. If your brother or sister is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy someone for whom Christ died. Therefore do not let what you know is good be spoken of as evil. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval.” (Romans 14:13-18)

In last week’s passage, we discussed the fact that we should not judge each other, because God is the ultimate judge, and He desires that we be unified as His church. This week, Paul continues that thought and expands on that idea to give the church in Rome (and us) more instruction.

We have a choice to do one of two things in our interactions with other believers: we can tear one another down, or we can build one another up. Here, Paul is encouraging us to do the latter.

In verse 13 he writes, “Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister.” Don’t tear one another down by judging and criticizing them, and don’t do anything that will cause them to have difficulty in their faith or even fall away from it.

Paul gives the example of eating and drinking again. A similar example for our modern day world would be drinking alcohol. Maybe you’ve never struggled with drinking too much, but if you have a friend who has a history of alcoholism, you shouldn’t consume alcoholic drinks around that person. Yes it may not affect you negatively, but if it can cause your friend to stumble then you should refrain from it.

Another example for today could be watching R-rated movies. You may think the violence or sexual content won’t affect you, but it puts you in a position to stumble in that way. Perhaps the friend you’re watching the movie with has struggled with an addiction to pornography, that you may or may not be aware of, and you choosing that particular movie may cause them to lapse back into that addiction.

You may consider yourself strong in the faith, but if you’re overconfident in that, your confidence could lead to the downfall of another believer. This may happen through peer pressure, through offending them, or through drawing them into an activity they’re trying to stay away from. Either way, this is not acting out of love. Remember from Romans 12:10 that we are commanded to “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.”

So what do we do about all this? Fix your priorities on God’s Kingdom and not on your own desires. If you’re fully focused on God and live your life full of the Holy Spirit, you won’t have to worry about causing other believers to stumble. You’ll automatically be lifting them up rather than tearing them down, because of the Spirit’s active presence in your life. If you serve Christ with your life, you’ll be full of righteousness, peace, and joy.

What are you doing in your life - are you tearing one another down and causing others to stumble, or are you lifting them up and encouraging them in their walk with Christ? Examine your priorities today, so that you don’t negatively affect your faith, or the faith of those around you.

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.