You know I’m always right?! You know I’m kidding! Or am I? You and I both know some people who have to be right. Have I stepped on some toes? Sorry about that! We live in a time when people have very definite opinions. Not much compromise when we’re cemented in place. Is that true of you? How about the church you’re involved in? Then we probably need a hefty spray of Romans 14 to help ‘clear the air’.
Paul talks about passing judgement on those who disagree with us. As in which is the correct day for worship? Or what about eating certain foods? To avoid even the hint of sin, some new believers decided to eat only vegetables and fruit, in case the meat had been dedicated to an idol. In the early church, lots of changes were bombarding people’s lives. Decisions were being made about these critical issues. As is true at any time, not everyone agreed. Lots of disagreements in the early church.
Should come as no surprise when some crop up, rear their ugly heads, in our local churches as well. Like the color of the new carpet in the sanctuary. Or how often to observe the Lord’s Supper. How about believer’s baptism versus infant? Sprinkling versus full immersion? Or can lose your salvation? Where do you stand on these issues? With me, of course… if you want to be right! Right?
Paul says that we shouldn’t ‘pass judgement’ on others(verse 3) while he also says that ‘each one should be fully convinced in his own mind'(verse 5). Search the Scriptures. Make sure you’re not polling friends and neighbors. Spend time in God’s Word for guidance. Knowing that true believers in Jesus Christ do come to differing conclusions. Have your own convictions…know them, reason why you have them.
Don’t judge fellow believers who differ. I don’t mean on crucial issues like the deity of Christ or the infallibility of the Bible, but those other issues that make for ‘Heinz 57 Variety’ churches in all our neighborhoods. You know what I’m talking about. Paul writes in Romans 14: 1-2(NIV)–‘Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgement on disputable matters. One man’s faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables.’ ‘Disputable matters’. We can disagree, fellowshipping with one another as believers in Jesus Christ.
The closer our own fellowship with the Lord in the Bible, the more quickly we’ll recognize His family. It takes some maturity, some embarrassing mistakes along the way, some calling out by others deeper in the faith than we are, to know when to respectfully disagree… and when to dust our feet off and move on. Really, it takes the Holy Spirit with His wisdom in our minds and hearts. Right?
Prayer: Lord, please give us kindness in matters of differing opinions. In Jesus’ name. Amen.