Romans 14:13-14 – 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. I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean.
Throughout Romans chapter 14, Paul is talking about what he calls “opinions” (14:1) or things that are secondary matters, which people often make into primary issues.
In this passage, he tells us that things are ultimately neutral, but people are not. Oftentimes, people will use things in a bad way, then religious people will make religious rules and legalisms to get rid of the thing not realizing that the thing was neutral, but the person was evil or sinful.
If you’re healthy and love the Lord, you’ll use things to love, honor, and serve the Lord. But, if you’re broken and unhealthy, you’ll use things and people to cause harm.
For example, consider a stick. Is it a good or bad thing? It all depends on what you do with it.
What if you give it to a kid and he uses it to play whiffle ball? That’s good.
What if you give it to someone who uses it to play fetch with their dog? That’s good too.
But, on the other hand, what if you give it to a protester and they start beating somebody with it? That’s bad.
You can look at the stick and say, “Is the stick good or bad?” It all depends on the heart of the person who wields it.
Religious people say “If anyone uses anything in a bad way, we just need to get rid of the thing.” But, in that case, we’d get rid of everything because everything could be used by a sinful person to inflict pain and cause damage.
This is why non-Christians will never fix the world because God alone can change people.
What is something that’s neutral that you could use for good or for bad in your life?
To find the free Romans 12-16 digital study guide for individuals and small groups, hear Pastor Mark’s entire sermon series on Romans, or find a free mountain of Bible teaching visit realfaith.com or download the Real Faith app.