Yesterday we looked at perspective. How each of us must weigh our decisions based on our understanding of what scripture teaches, and what our conscience tells us.
Romans 14:20 goes on to say: “…but it is wrong for a person to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble.” Verse 21 explains “It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother or sister to fall.” YOU may be able to hold your own in a drinking contest – but your bestie may get sick – or worse: act stupid or mean – when drinking. Therefore, when together it would be righteous of you to abstain from having even one drink so as to encourage your friend to do likewise, and in so doing make your time together all the more enjoyable.
This principle can be applied to pretty much anything:
- Don’t attempt an extreme bike ramp stunt if your friend is clumsy & wrecks just riding down the sidewalk.
- Don’t get a shake with your meal if your friend is trying to lose weight and has resolved to eat only salads.
- If you know a friend is not permitted to wear makeup by her parents, Don’t get your makeup out to apply AFTER she arrives to pick you up for the party, lest she be thus tempted to disobey her parents rules.
It becomes a matter of living for the benefit of more than just ourselves. To consider how our actions will impact the people around us. Each and every person is a leader. Whether you know it or not; whether you want to be or not….SOMEONE is looking at how you live your life. And more importantly, they are using what they see to help them make decisions about their own life. Often times we don’t even know we have influence.
So lets today, take Romans 14:21 and turn it inside out: “It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother or sister to fall” = Let all your actions and works be to the lifting up of our brothers and sisters. In striving to accomplish this we can hope to
- Have a POSITIVE impact on the world around us.
- Live in a sense of obedience rather than guilt.
- Give Honor and Glory to God
This being said, realize, we are ALL sinners and fall short of the Glory of God. We will all fail at this! At first, it may be often. But eventually, with practice, we can aspire to only fall short occasionally. Either way, don’t get hung up on the failures, but rather move forward to the next opportunity to succeed. Mistakes are only mistakes till you learn from them, then they become lessons.
Tomorrow we will take a look at what Romans 14 says about temptation and judgement.