“15 If your brother or sister is being injured by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. Do not let what you eat cause the ruin of one for whom Christ died. 16 So do not let your good be spoken of as evil. 17 For the kingdom of God is not food and drink but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 The one who thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and has human approval. 19 Let us then 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 you to make others fall by what you eat; 21 it is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that makes your brother or sister stumble.”
Some people in the Roman church thought it was spiritually harmless to eat all foods, even those foods that some people thought were unclean. Paul thought it was harmless too. He wrote that nothing a person ate or drank could affect their relationship with God. After all, a person’s faith was not dependent on what a person ate or drank.
But, there were those in the church whose faith was immature and could easily be damaged or sidetracked, so he advised those who were eating those foods not to eat them, if by eating them they were to cause another member to stumble in their faith; or if by eating them they were to cause controversy or unrest in the congregation. Paul wrote that they should focus on building up the congregation, not dividing it.
This is good advice for any church. Let us look out for one another and build one another up in the faith.
May the love of Christ be with you
Rev. Eric Lanier (Retired)