My husband has collected comic books since he was a young boy, long before Marvel begin making blockbuster movies. When our kids were little, he read them comic books and they collected various ones. Our involvement in the Marvel world raised quite a few eyebrows. Several of our family and friends questioned our sanity and the sincerity of our Christian faith over the “comic book issue.”
How are we to handle that? How should I — the person who’s Christian ethics are questioned — respond? And how should the person questioning my ethics respond? Assuming I’m right, should I feel free to read comic books in all situations, bringing them say to a Christian school or a church function? Assuming I’m wrong, how should my friends point out the error of my ways?
That’s the issue in Romans 14: How and when should Christians meddle in each other’s lives?
In Romans 1-8 Paul explained the glory of the gospel and the greatness of God — how no one can be saved by keeping the law. We can only be saved by trusting that God, because of the blood of Jesus Christ, will forgive us and solve the problem of sin in our lives.
In Romans 9-11, he argued that God did not fail Israel, nor reject them and that proves He will be faithful to Gentile believers as well.
In Romans 12, he turned practical. He says, “It is only reasonable that we worship this God with our bodies.” The rest of the book then discusses how the gospel should make our lives different.
In Romans 13, he told us to submit those in authority, keep ourselves free from debt, and free from darkness, so that we are free to serve God.
In Romans 14-15, he discusses the favorite indoor sport of Christians: trying to change each other.
- Romans 14:1-12 – What you should not do
- Romans 14:13-24 – What you can do
- Romans 15:1-13 – What happens when you handle it the right way
What you should not do
- Accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of arguing with him.
- The early church in Rome was a multi-cultural church, composed of both Jews and Gentiles. Some Jews still followed strict dietary laws while some Gentiles avoided meat sacrificed to idols.
- Their disagreement over who should eat what was a disagreement over who was offending the Lord by their eating practices.
- What does it mean to be “weak”? Paul claims the people with the most freedom are those who are farthest along in faith
- We protect baby Christians, the same way we protect toddlers, with boundaries and limits, until they learn and mature enough to make responsible choices.
- It is not the responsibility of the “strong” to change your “weaker” sister. She is not your servant. She is the Lord’s and He will change her.
- God reads the heart and He sees what we cannot see.
- Our relationship with each other is more important having the same lifestyle.
What you can do
- If you want to judge, start with yourself: Judge how your actions are affecting and influencing others.
- Avoid exercising your freedom recklessly, such that it is destructive to another person.
For more detail and explanation please listen to the podcast