As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. 2 One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. 3 Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. 4 Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.
5 One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God. 7 For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. 8 For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord's. 9 For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.
10 Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; 11 for it is written,
“As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me,
and every tongue shall confess[b] to God.”
12 So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.
Do Not Cause Another to Stumble
13 Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. 14 I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean. 15 For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died. 16 So do not let what you regard as good be spoken of as evil. 17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. 19 So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.
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. 21 It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble. 22 The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who has no reason to pass judgment on himself for what he approves. 23 But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.
This passage was originally talking about meat sacrificed to idols. In the early church era, many of the new converts were Gentiles who had been involved in idol worship. Imagine that there is a new Gentile convert named Dimetrius. A fellow believer, a Jewish convert named Jacob, invites Demetrius to dinner at his house. But Jacob is serving meat that he bought at the local market. Demetrius asks him where Jacob got the meat from, and he recognize the shop as owned by a notorious idolater. Demetrius is reluctant to eat the meat he knows was sacrificed to idols, because he is used to thinking of idols as real. If Jacob forced him to eat the meat, afterwards Demetrius would feel guilty and violated.
But obviously we don't have to eat meat that's been sacrificed to idols anymore. How would this passage apply to us today? Well let's imagine another scenario. A Christian named Kevin is going over to his friend Cody's house to hang out with him and some other friends. Before coming to Christ, Kevin was involved in the occult. Now imagine that Cody and his other friends are going to watch Harry Potter. Because of the wizardry and darkness in that movie, Kevin is reluctant to watch it, having come out of actually practicing dark arts and finding the similarities in the movie too close for comfort. When he expresses his desire not to watch the movie, he's met with disbelief from his friends. One friend snickers. One friend just mockingly laughs and says “what are you so worried about?” Even Cody accuses Kevin of being legalistic.
Guys, this isn't what we as Christians should be doing. Different Christians will have different standards of what to watch or read or listen to. I know people who I would consider to be Christians that allow themselves to watch many different movies and listen to lots of different types of music. On the other hand, I know a family who literally don't watch VeggieTales because that's what they think is best. The Bible doesn't say we shouldn't judge when someone is doing something way out of line; in fact it says to practice righteous judgement (John 7:24). But what it does say is not to judge someone for not wanting to do something that you think is perfectly acceptable.
Questions to ponder: feel free to answer these in the comment section if you'd like!
Have you been judged for not wanting to do something that another believer thought was fine?
Have you ever judged someone like this?
Did you agree with the conclusions I made in the last paragraph?
If, in the story with Cody and Kevin, instead of putting “Harry Potter” I had put “Lord of the Rings”, would you have still agreed with my conclusion?