Thursday, August 2, 2012

WATCH YOURSELF.......AND OTHERS

I have just ended a study on the Book of Romans in the Bible.  The information I will be sharing within this blog comes from certain parts of chapter 14 (1, 10-13, 19, 21) and a few beginning verses in chapter 15 (1,7).  However, if you want a good take on the context, read the entire chapters mentioned as well as the chapters before and after (13, all of 15).

The main lesson that I take away from chapter 14 is not to be a stumbling block in the Faith-Walk of a fellow brother/sister in Christ.  The main example that is used is food.  A personal scenario would be when I am out with believers that I know have dietary restrictions Based On Faith (i.e. - don't drink alcohol, fasting, don't eat meat, etc..), I should modify my behavior to accommodate their situation or at least ask before-hand if my drinking or whatever is going to bother them.  The behavior is called consideration.  It is also called being sensitive.  I am not the best by any means at this particular example.  However, food is not the only topic that Scripture speaks about concerning the sensitivity of believers around other believers.

Observe the following verses.

Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters. - 14:1

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. 11 It is written: " 'As surely as I live,' says the Lord, 'every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God.' " 12 So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God. 13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother's way. - 14:10-13

Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. - 14:19

It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother to fall. - 14:21

We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. - 15:1

Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. - 15:7


There are things in our Faith-Walk that are "disputable matters".  Believers are told not to pass judgement on those matters but to "accept him whose faith is weak".   Paul goes on to challenge us to make the decision to not place "any" sort of "stumbling block or obstacle in your brother's way".  The use of the word "any" makes clear that food is not the sole stumbling block we should be concerned with but is just an example.   Instead, Paul encourages us "to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification".  

Paul again displays his pattern of challenge then encouragement.  First, Paul charges "It is better not to do anything else that will cause your brother to fall".  Again, the words "anything else" spell out how all of life's pitfalls must be considered as a "stumbling block" and not just food.  Second, Paul stirs us "who are strong...to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves".  For it is easy to "please ourselves" by passing judgement on somebody and coming down hard on them with a lesson they will possibly learn gracefully in God's time by another means.  This does not mean that we say nothing to other believers in need of a word.  No!  By no means.  The words you choose, tone, and spirit in which you deliver those words are all critically important.  Leave the passing of judgment to God, find out and act on - "what leads to peace and to mutual edification" for that brother/sister in Christ, and "accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God."