Summary of passage: Paul reiterates getting along with others. Don’t destroy someone’s belief over petty issues like food. Avoid causing your brother to fail. Keep your beliefs to yourself and don’t shame others into your beliefs.
13) It could cause others to stumble, feel shame and guilt and begin to doubt God and potentially sin.
14) “Make every effort to do what leads to peace and mutual edification.” “Keep your beliefs about these issues between yourself and God.”
15) “It is better for the stronger believer to not eat meat or drink wine or do anything else that will cause your brother to fall.” The weaker believer should not “condemn himself by what he approves.”
16) Personal Question. My answer: This has nothing to do with straying from God but the one thing I can think of is having candy in the house. My kids eat candy and I don’t but my husband, who is trying to lose weight, can’t resist it. I’m becoming more cognizant of what I’m buying so he won’t stumble.
Conclusions: Important passage. We need to put others’ needs first. Whether it’s not drink around those who struggle with drunkenness or not eat certain foods around those struggling with their weight/health. It’s being considerate of others at its foundation.
End Notes: Paul is not talking about catering to legalism here such as eating certain foods.
Keep your faith between yourself and God. You don’t have to parade it around weak Christians. You can keep your standards and convictions. However, you’re not permitted to flaunt it around others.
There are things God may challenge us to give up, but we go on approving them in our life – thus we condemn ourselves. It may not be that the thing itself is clearly good or bad, but it is enough that God speaks to us about the matter.
Each of us must ask: “God, what is there in my life hindering a closer walk with You? I want to know the happiness that comes from not condemning myself by what I approve in my life.” This takes faith, because we often cling to hindering things because we think they make us happy. Real happiness is found being closer and closer to Jesus, and by not being condemned by what we approve.
If we are troubled by something, it is likely sin, not faith. We can check ourselves when we tend to justify things we permit this way.