It is easy to notice differences in others and judge them. Sometimes when we notice differences in lifestyles, opinions, and choices in others we may say that’s interesting, or I like that, or I’ll try that, or that adds to life, etc. But there are other times when we may say to ourselves or think thats terrible, not good, what’s wrong with them, etc. Sometimes we are quick to judge and slow to be understanding and gracious. And sometimes we are quick to tell others what’s wrong with their choices.
If that’s hard to imagine, just think about the elections coming up in November. Could it be that we may wonder, how in the world can a follower of Christ vote for that candidate? Think about worship styles. Could it be that we might think, how in the world could so and so want to sing that song in worship? Could it be that we are judgmental from time to time?
That’s what we see in this passage. Here in Romans 14, there were some Roman Christians who went the market place and purchased meat for their meals that was priced at quite a discount. It was inexpensive because it was left over from temple sacrifices to one of the gods that some people worshipped in Rome. Other Christians thought this was terrible and should not be done because it was meat used in idol worship. They looked down on those who did such things. The folks who purchased the discount meat thought it was a bargain since the idols were not in reality true gods because there is only one true God, God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. They thought that what they were doing was just fine. In their minds the Christians who criticized them were weak in their faith.
Paul wants both groups to be gracious, understanding, and accepting of each other. They could disagree and yet be kind to each other. After all, we belong to the Lord and God is the judge. We are not the judge, although we are tempted to be judgmental. Isn’t that good to remember? It will serve us well as we go through life.
Paul writes, “It’s God we are answerable to—all the way from life to death and everything in between—not each other. That’s why Jesus lived and died and then lived again: so that he could be our Master across the entire range of life and death, and free us from the petty tyrannies of each other.” (Romans 14:7-9, The Message)
“For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. 8 If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. 9 For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.” (Romans 14:7-9, NIV)
Let’s be gracious and understanding today. Let’s be loving and accepting of other Christians, our brothers and sisters in Christ; for we are all part of the family of God.