Sunday, June 2

Prioritize people over issues

Scripture: Proverbs 22-24, Romans 14

Romans 14:1 Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions.

Romans 14:10 But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God.

Romans 14:13 Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather determine this—not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother’s way.

Romans 14:15 For if because of food your brother is hurt, you are no longer walking according to love. Do not destroy with your food him for whom Christ died.

Observation

Two issues that divided people in the early church (both with Jewish roots) were food and holy days.  Could a Christian eat meat that had been offered to an idol and then sold in the meat market?  Is one day sacred above others (the Sabbath) or are all sacred? 

Evidently, the new Christians in Rome were not only disagreeing, but judging one another harshly and feeling contempt for those with whom they disagreed.  The issues had become more important than their brothers and sisters in Christ.  But Jesus didn’t die for the issues; He died for the people.

Application

Paul gives three correctives—clear steps to take:

First, stop judging—that is God’s business, not yours.  “Who are you to judge your brother?  We will all stand before the judgment seat of God.”  V. 10.

Second, rather than judging, let’s not put an obstacle in our brother’s way.   V. 13. In other words, adjust your behavior to your brother’s conscience to avoid offending him.  This is the opposite of judgment—this is love.

Third, prioritize your brother over the issue.  “Don’t destroy with your food your brother for whom Christ died.”  V. 15.  Paul reminds us that Jesus didn’t die for the food or the day, but for the brother or sister.  Never forget that!  It’s people that matter.  

Prayer: Lord, this is another spoke in the “unoffendable” wheel.  Help me to leave all judgment and contempt behind, and value my brothers and sisters for whom Jesus died.