As Christians, we are all siblings… fellow heirs with Christ (as it says in Romans 8:17).  Perhaps that is why we are always fighting each other, like siblings.

There are legitimate arguments we need to stand firm on and not bend.  When our siblings deny certain salvation related issues, we need to stand firm and help them understand.  However, it’s all the other arguments that drive me crazy.

What foods you eat or don’t eat.
What day you do or don’t celebrate the Sabbath.
Yes or no to caffeine.
Can you drink alcohol or not?

The list goes on but you get the idea.  Each side has their arguments as to why they believe a certain way or not.  Each can cite scripture to seemingly support their point of view.  But each side is wrong.

Yes, it’s possible for each to be wrong.  This is not a new issue for us.  Paul regularly said as much in his letters.  In his letter to the Romans, he is pointing out that some believers say you should not eat meat and other believers say you can.  His point is clear.  Yes, you can eat meat, as long as it does not cause a brother (who believes you shouldn’t eat meat) to stumble.

The entire 14th chapter is pointing out that while we are free in Christ (having paid the price for all sin on the cross), His death fulfilled the old law and we are no longer under that law.  This means we are free to eat meat.  We are free to observe the Sabbath as we choose, etc.  The point is not whether or not we have those freedoms.  The point is, does our practicing our freedoms cause another to stumble.

“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.” (Rom 14:13-14)

While I am free to eat meat, if a brother feels convicted that eating meat is wrong spiritually, then me eating meat in front of that brother is wrong.  It is also wrong for me to argue with that brother.  For if he feels eating that meat makes him unclean, and he finally decides to eat the meat with all of my arguments, and then feels unclean as a result.  It is my fault.  Likewise, it is OK for me to drink alcohol as long as I don’t get drunk.  But if a brother believes that is wrong, then I should also abstain.  For exercising my freedom because I have that right, is wrong if it causes another brother to stumble.

Therefore, stop the fighting.  It’s OK if someone feels strongly about an issue of their own cleanliness.  Don’t exercise your freedom to the detriment of other.

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