DEVOTION – DAY 95
Romans 14:1-3 “Differences In Churches”
Romans 14:1-3 “Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them.”
In ancient times, the early churches had to resolve issues like whether eating of meat was allowed. The Jewish Christians came from a background where they avoided eating pork and other meats had to be slaughtered in a certain way to become acceptable. Jews would avoid eating meat that had been offered to idols as they saw that as the same as worshipping idols. The Roman Christians had no such worries or food inhibitions. Many Romans bought their meat in markets that sold meat that had been sacrificed to Roman idols. They believed that under the new covenant in Christ, they were freed to eat as they want. To them, meat bought from local markets were just food. The fact that someone may think the meat had been offered to idols does not mean that they have to abstain from eating meat. That was only one of the issues. Other issues included keeping of the Sabbath and other religious festivals and fasting and so on.
Today, there are also disputes in our churches over issues where people may have opposing views. There are some who disapprove of people who attend church services wearing slippers and shorts, or women wearing spaghetti strapped tops. Others who are used to informal attire see nothing wrong. There are some who disagree that a church should have Santa Claus figure in their children’s events as Santa was not a Biblical figure. Others think that it is culturally appropriate for children. There are some who abstain from drinking wine and beer while others think it is okay to drink wine and beer so long as no one over indulge nor get drunk. Some think it is important that church services must be held on Sundays whilst others think it is okay to have church services on Saturday afternoons or evenings. Some think one should rest on Sundays and not work but others think it is okay to work. In the end, it seems that on one side of the spectrum, those with the conservative view is called “weak” in the context of Rom.14:1-3, whilst those with the liberal views are those whose faith are “strong”.
But if we look at Rom.14:1-3, the apostle Paul is of the view that unless the Bible states clearly that something is prohibited, like sexual immorality, drunkenness, adultery and so on, where the Bible is silent, it is up to the individual to decide. As Rom.14:1-3 pointed out, no one should judge anyone else, complain or gossip about others for doing something that the Bible is silent about. Instead, we should be guided with love to build and encourage others, not judge or tear them apart. I have often found this helpful as my guide in advising others when people raise issues in church like those above and expect a decision to be made favoring their point of view.
Let us pray: Heavenly Father, thank you for reminding us of the need to not judge others in areas where we have no business to be the judge. Help us to love others as ourselves always. In the precious name of the Lord Jesus we pray. Amen.
- What are some issues that you see divide people in our church today? Discuss.
- In the light of this devotion, what must you do to resolve these divisions? What role can you play to help bring about an end to such divisions?
- If someone’s opinion is different from yours, what must you do? Discuss.