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Romans 14:20: Do Not, For The Sake Of Food, Destroy The Work Of God.

Romans 14:20
[20] Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for anyone to make another stumble by what he eats. (ESV)

It is truly amazing how petty people can be who claim to know Jesus Christ as their Savior. You have likely heard of churches that have split over things like: the color of the church carpet, the length of hair of the youth pastor, individual seats instead of pews, guitars being played in the sanctuary, or having deviled eggs for a church picnic. Petty.

In Paul's day the petty argument was over what food could be eaten. Meat was sold in the market after it had been sacrificed to the local idol of the city. Some Christians said that idols are not gods at all and meat was created by God to be eaten. Freedom. Other Christians felt that eating meat that was sacrificed to an idol was the height of sacrilegious behavior.

As you may guess, this created all kinds of tension. It created so much tension that we find Paul's response to this problem here in his letter to the church at Rome. He basically tells the church that on the one hand, the Christians who feel that they are free to eat meat are correct. However, he says that more important is to love your brother enough not to cause him to stumble.

Love triumphs being right. It is better to be righteous than being right. Many church splits could have been avoided if those claiming to know Christ sought the higher ground of loving their brother or sister in Christ rather than demanding their right to have what they wanted. God is always far more interested in his body being a loving body than a collection of people who are "right."

In what ways do you struggle with laying aside your freedom so that others can feel loved and valued? In what ways do you need to be more "righteous" than "right." Ask the Lord to help you in this. He will empower you by his Holy Spirit.


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