Romans 14:1-3 – As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him.
Before I became a senior pastor, I was working as a college pastor and, somehow, I started making relationships with a lot of runaway youth and homeless street kids who ran away from abusive backgrounds or had serious drug addictions.
Next thing I know, they invite me to lead a Bible study at a flop house. It was a house that was abandoned so they broke into it, and all these college-aged kids were living there illegally. I was talking to them on the street, and they said they were interested in Jesus, so they invited me to their drug den to do a Bible study. I figured I had nothing else to do, so why not?
I literally went to this drug den, brought food for them to eat, talked to them about Jesus, and there was drugs and drug paraphernalia everywhere. But it didn’t tempt me in the least.
When it comes to drug use, I’ve never even smoked a cigarette. I grew up in a neighborhood with a lot of drug use and abuse and a gal I went to school with even died in early high school of a drug overdose. I’ve seen friends of mine overdose and die, so I’ve never touched it and have no temptation towards it.
But for some of you, you could never be in that environment because you’re weak in that area and it’s a strong temptation for you. But I’m weak in other areas. I cannot watch a horror movie because I’ve had enough demonic activity in my life, so that freaks me out. People will say “It’s just a movie” but to me, it’s not as parts of my life have felt like a Scoobie Doo episode.
Some of us are strong in some areas and weak in others, and we need to be willing to put the relationship and unity with other believers above our freedom in Christ. God gave us a lot of freedom, but we can pull back our freedoms and accommodate each other for the sake of relationships.
What are you strong in that you may need to not exercise all your freedoms in for the sake of relationships with others? What are you weak in that you may need grace from others for?
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.