Romans 14:20-23 – Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for anyone to make another stumble by what he eats. It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble. The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who has no reason to pass judgment on himself for what he approves. But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.
When I was in college, there was a group of guys who were all Christians who wanted to go to the sports bar to watch a big game. I didn’t drink alcohol, but one of the guys was a brand-new Christian and had been a very severe alcoholic.
We wanted to go to the sports bar for the game, but he said if we went there, he couldn’t go. He had just joined Team Jesus and was a recovering alcoholic from heavy drinking so much so that his blood alcohol content was probably still not at zero.
We had three choices: 1) We could drag him to the bar and cause him to stumble. 2) We could just ditch him and forget about it. 3) We could choose somewhere else to watch the game so we could all be together.
What would the right answer be?
Three. So that’s what we did. We found a restaurant that didn’t serve alcohol but still had the game on, so we went there and ate chicken wings. Now, if he’d struggled with chicken wings, I don’t know what we would’ve done; that would’ve been a real situation.
The point is this. You have your freedom but in some area of your life, you shouldn’t use it all because, in that area, you’re weak and you can get in trouble. Or you may love someone who is weaker in that area and you want to come alongside them. If someone is stronger in that area, don’t judge them. And if someone is weaker in another area, don’t judge them.
It’s more about being close to the person than enjoying your freedom close to the line. If you’re stronger than someone else, don’t drag them up to the line, because they may easily stumble over the line. Instead, go backwards to join them rather than trying to pull them forward into potential struggle and sin. This is how we can love and serve others by the power of the Holy Spirit.
How can you love people who may struggle with things you don’t struggle with and make the relationship more important than your freedom in Christ?
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.