We’ve got your daily encouragement, written by Lindsey Strickler.
15 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. 16 Therefore do not let what you know is good be spoken of as evil. 17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, 18 because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval.
19 Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. 20 Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a person to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. 21 It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother or sister to fall.
22 So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who does not condemn himself by what he approves. 23 But whoever has doubts is condemned if they eat, because their eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.
To cut to the chase, what Romans 14 addresses is our tendency to make mountains out of molehills and fight over things that are, in the big scheme of things, not important. Paul, the author of Romans, is writing to a group of people who are fighting over old customs and laws. One camp believes they are free to eat and drink whatever they want, while there are others who are still following “old laws” from before Jesus came.
Remember what we learned about the word “Peace,” that it means being in a state of being complete, or whole? That’s what this community is experiencing, they are fractured, and they need to be made whole again. Paul is confronting them with love, while being direct, in order to restore peace.
He confronts not just people who are abiding by “older,” “outdated” laws, but also those who are flaunting their freedom and distressing others. He tells them it’s not worth it. The fighting and working one another up just because “you think you’re right” is actually wrong no matter what fence you’re on. There’s a way to work through differences, but, as Paul points out, this is not it. Why? Because there are more important things in the kingdom to get worked up about.
Convicting, right? I know I’m guilty of not loving my brother or sister well and meeting them where they’re at, instead using judgmental words or a judgmental attitude because they don’t believe what I want them to. Instead of working towards wholeness, I am contributing to the brokenness and fractures. It’s a hard line to navigate.
God, I can be guilty of the same things as the believers in this Romans passage. Help me to see people where they are and not get caught up in things that aren’t as important in the big picture. Soften my heart father to also see where I’m sinning because my heart isn’t postured in the right place. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Spend some time reflecting on your current environment. Are there people or situations in your life where you’re making a big deal about things that aren’t as important in the big picture and in turn hurting your relationships with people?
To receive the Faith Workout of the Day every morning, please sign up here.