14:1 As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions
Vs 3 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.
Vs 4 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.
Vs 9 For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.
Vs 13 Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother
Vs 17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
Vs 20 Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God.
Paul is coming pleading with the Romans to not let their religious attitudes of judging others hurt their relationships with each other, but especially not to impede the work of God and the advancement of the Kingdom of God.
Welcome the one who God welcomes!
Do not make stumble the one who God makes stand!
Interestingly, this is a chapter all about “do not judge”.
Yet, at the core of his argument to not judge is a distinguishing between those “weak” and “strong” in the faith.
So, Paul is “judging” between “weak” and “strong” while telling us “do nor judge”.
How does this make sense?!
In my relationships with others, especially other Christians, am I tempted to judge their spiritual maturity?
If so, it may be a sign of my own immaturity.
Or at least, how I act on that judgement is an indicator of my own maturity of faith.
I need to distinguish between right “judgement” and wrong “judgement”.
This is the difference between “discernment” and “condemnation”.
Paul is certainly telling all not to judge each other, but he specifically tells the strong in faith to welcome the weak in faith and to not quarrel over opinions.
So, in other words, discern who is strong in faith and who is weak in faith. That is a good thing to do.
But never condemn anyone in the faith … dismissing the one welcomed by God … or knocking down the one God makes stand!
If I do so, what’s at risk? … potentially the very work of God, Himself, in that person.
This is not to say I could impede God, but that I could be a “stumbling block” to another person.
Ironically, what’s one of the most perceived opinions of Christians by non Christians? Judgmental!
What if Non-Christians looked at Christians and thought, “Wow, they seemed to be all about peace and joy!”
The Kingdom of God is indeed unstoppable, but I can, unfortunately, seem to put brakes on it.
My job is to “discern” … determine who is weak and strong in faith… and welcome them all!
God’s job is to “condemn” … determine who is “in or out” … who has faith at all
(“Without faith it is impossible to please God.”)
Thank you, again, God, for your Word
Help me live it wisely
With discernment and not condemnation
Help me Holy Spirit to see others with your eyes
And love them with your heart
In Jesus name