When Right is Wrong

Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a man to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother to fall.” Romans 14:19-21

Paul was using the issue of food (clean or unclean) to teach his readers about the importance of valuing people more than religious traditions or rules.  Sometimes we lose perspective and go through the motions of what we have always done or what we think is right, often oblivious to the influence and impact we’re having on others.  We are absolutely free in Christ, but we are also called to “make every effort to do what leads to peace and mutual edification.”  We are to avoid what causes others to stumble, and we are to do what builds others up in Christ.  That which is right can be wrong.  It’s wrong when the activity hinders another person from drawing closer to Christ.

Some people go too far and become overly concerned with every little thing they do, constantly worrying about what others think.  That’s not the intent of this teaching.  That’s legalism and enslavement, from which Jesus came to set us free.  Paul summarized how we are to live in verses 17-18: “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men.”

The Christian life is NOT about rules and religion, but about being right with God through Jesus Christ. It’s about being filled with the Spirit and living with others in an understanding way, which results in a life of abundant peace and joy.

Enjoy your freedom WHILE doing what leads to peace and mutual edification.

Jeff Wilson

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