Those You Disagree With

Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. The 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. - Romans 14:1-3

Few Christians today think much about whether the food we eat has moral implications (although some may choose not to eat beef as a way to be better stewards of the earth). In the first century, urban butcher shops were located in temples. It was so convenient that way since all the meat was offered to the idols before being sold. Because of the prohibitions on idolatry in the scriptures, many Christians didn’t eat meat in cities like Rome.

Paul said these Christians had ‘weak faith’ in the sense that it limited their choice of food, whereas others (himself included) felt the freedom to eat whatever food he wanted, knowing that God had made it all and that idols were nothing. The key issue here is that real Christians differed over this important matter.

Today there are a lot of issues that Christians disagree about. But what is important is HOW Paul handled the differences. Note the word “accept.” How do you feel about Paul saying we are called to “accept” those you disagree with “for God has accepted them”? That’s probably not easy, especially when it’s an issue that seems really important to you.

Take some time today and ask for the grace to accept people the way God accepts people (focusing especially on how God accepts you).