Today’s Reading: Romans 14:1-23
Throughout church history churches have split for the stupidest of reasons. Some have split over whether it is Immanuel or Emmanuel. Some churches have split over whether to sit on pews or chairs.
Paul tells us that we are to “Live in harmony with one another” (Romans 12:16). But how can we live in harmony when there are so many controversial issues that divide us? Paul gave the church in Rome some practical, step-by-step instructions Romans 14:1-15:7.
Paul says that the one who is strong in the faith and therefore understands that he is free from legalistic constraints in disputable matters must not look down on those who don’t believe they have such freedom. He also says that those who are weak in the faith and therefore feel that they must follow certain rules must not condemn those who don’t follow their rules. Why not? Because the other person is not your servant, but God’s. And so they answer not to you, but to God. And furthermore, we see that God has accepted them both. Therefore, we dare not look down on the one whom God has accepted.
Of course, it is man’s tendency to look down on those who hold different views than himself whether those views be religious or political. So the next time you are tempted to look down on someone either because they do not share your freedom or because they don’t share your strict convictions remind yourself that you are not better than them nor are they better than you. Remind yourself of what the apostle Paul had to say about himself. “I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle” (1 Corinthians 15:9). “I am less than the least of all God’s people” (Ephesians 3:8). “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners — of whom I am the worst” (1 Timothy 1:15). If that was true of the apostle Paul then it is certainly true of you and so you have no right to look down on anyone.