You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. It is written: “‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.'” So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.Romans 14:10-12 NIV
The world of the New Testament was polytheistic, with many temples to a variety of idols in every city. And sacrifices were made to these idols, with the meat either eaten as a part of the worship or sold later in the market. A concern to many believers was over whether or not they could eat this meat that was sold in the marketplace. Some did, and some did not. And this issue is one that Paul identifies as a disputable matter; one that a believer could take either position on without compromising their faith or service to God. Paul’s concern here was not on the rightness or wrongness of eating this meat. Rather it was on how my practice in this matter impacted other believers. I should be careful not to make another believer stumble because of what I do. Even if it is OK.
But he also instructs us not to judge other believers because of their stand on these disputable matters. I am God’s servant and am answerable to him. While meat sacrificed to an idol is not an issue today, there are many others.
- Do I drink in moderation, or abstain?
- Smoking, either tobacco or marijuana?
- Support Disney or boycott them?
- What is suitable attire for worship?
- Hymns or chorus’?
- Pre, post, or amillennial?
- Old earth or young earth?
The list is endless. While holding firmly to the important truths of our faith, let’s not judge each other over disputable matters. Instead, let’s focus on what is important; loving God and each other, growing in the faith, and being a light to a world groping in darkness.