Romans 14 Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. 2One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. 3The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them. 4Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand.
5One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind. 6Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord. Whoever eats meat does so to the Lord, for they give thanks to God; and whoever abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. 7For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. 8If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. 9For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.
10You, 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. 11It is written:
“‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.’” 12So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.
13Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. 14I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean. 15If your brother or sister is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy someone for whom Christ died. 16Therefore do not let what you know is good be spoken of as evil. 17For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, 18because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval.
19Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. 20Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a person to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. 21It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother or sister to fall.
22So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who does not condemn himself by what he approves. 23But whoever has doubts is condemned if they eat, because their eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.
I participated in early voting last week and was, honestly, surprised by the number of presidential candidates on the ballot. I only recognized the two names I expected to be listed. While there were five options on the ballot, the race is really only between two candidates, which causes a major divergence of attitudes towards them. One of those two will also be announced as President of the United States of America on November 4, or soon thereafter, and this is what concerns me. I am not a person of fear or worry, but I do have concerns about how we will all react to the outcome of the election. With two viable candidates, we seem to have decided that one is right and the other is wrong. Totally wrong, sinfully wrong! We cannot be persuaded to see any good in the candidate we don’t support, we accuse the other candidate of lying and distrust. The number of distasteful qualities and plans of the candidate we don’t like grows to the point that civility in conversation with someone who supports the other candidate is no longer possible. This is dangerous.
Paul advises in Romans 14, that we accept the one whose faith is weak - don’t go telling someone who chose a different candidate than you that you think their faith is weak - but the point is that we not argue over disputable matters. Disputable matters are our many differences of opinion. Paul uses the example of eating habits as a disputable matter. Someone may choose a vegetarian diet while you chose a keto diet or a vegan diet - he says we should not treat the other with contempt and we should not judge the other person because God has accepted them.
I’m quite sure that we each chose our candidate, in the name of the Lord. We have studied our candidate, listened to his plans and ideals on the major issues, and we believe he is the right person to lead the United States of America. Just because you did the same thing and drew a different conclusion, doesn’t make someone else’s conclusion wrong, for they chose their candidate in the name of the Lord, just as you did. We are not to judge our brothers and sisters. We know that both candidates have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, but these are the options placed before us. We must keep in mind that the candidate who become POTUS will not just serve us and people like ourselves, but all Americans, and this person will represent us to the rest of the world. “For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. 8If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.” (v. 7-8) We each get one vote for the candidate we like and we vote for him in the name of the Lord.
It’s a fairly recent development that people openly discuss their candidate of choice. As a child, it was rude to ask someone who they voted for and it just was something we did not discuss. Paul advises, “So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who does not condemn himself by what he approves.” (v. 22) “He also advises that we. “make every effort to do what leads to peace and mutual edification.” (v. 19) We might just do this by keeping our political candidate of choice a private matter.
Let’s say that you don’t share your political affiliation, but someone makes an assumption and a comment. What shall you do?
~A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back. (Proverbs 29:11)
~Do not take to heart all the things that people say, lest you hear your servant cursing you. Your heart knows that many times you yourself have cursed others. (Ecclesiastes 7:21-22)
~Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense. (Proverbs 19:11)
~The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” (Exodus 14:14) I will close with the words of Jesus Christ, himself. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” (Matthew 5:9) Amen.
Thank you for reading! Don’t forget to vote on Tuesday, November 3, 2020, if you have not already.