1 Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things.
2 For one believes he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables.
3 Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats; for God has received him.
4 Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand.
5 One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind.
6 He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it. He who eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks; and he who does not eat, to the Lord he does not eat, and gives God thanks.
7 For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself.
8 For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.
9 For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living.
10 But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
11 For it is written: “AS I LIVE, SAYS THE LORD, EVERY KNEE SHALL BOW TO ME, AND EVERY TONGUE SHALL CONFESS TO GOD.”
12 So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.
13 Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way.
14 I know and am convinced by the Lord Jesus that there is nothing unclean of itself; but to him who considers anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean.
15 Yet if your brother is grieved because of your food, you are no longer walking in love. Do not destroy with your food the one for whom Christ died.
16 Therefore do not let your good be spoken of as evil;
17 for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
18 For he who serves Christ in these things is acceptable to God and approved by men.
19 Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another.
20 Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All things indeed are pure, but it is evil for the man who eats with offense.
21 It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak.
22 Do you have faith? Have it to yourself before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves.
23 But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because he does not eat from faith; for whatever is not from faith is sin.
While there are areas of clear variance from the will of God in holiness that are common for all, there are so many others that have more to do with someone’s conscience before God. There are perspectives that Paul gives here, though, that are so necessary for maintaining our own right standing before God and ensuring unity and peace in the body we’ve been called to. So often thoughts and conversations gravitate to questioning others’ actions and preferences that are subject to contention. Where they are apparently serving the Lord, he indicates that it really isn’t up to us do be judging another man’s (God’s) servant. We should let those things be dealt with by Him and be concerned only with our own service. Then, there is a description of a new life perspective that is critical for transformation, that we replace judging others and deciding how they may be offending us, to paring from our own lives anything that might be causing someone else to stumble based upon their own preferences. Instead of just boldly barging ahead with whatever our perspective is without consideration of another’s view, it seems that love considers how they feel about it over your own ‘more righteous and informed’ determination. With a heart and passion for maintaining relationship over winning a contest, there is a much greater emulation of God’s heart towards us, choosing proximity over condemnation. How much He is continually putting up with in His grace towards us, all the fractured views that are still in need of revelation. And yet, His arms are never closed to an embrace of love, contending only for our best. This is so necessary for freedom from our own sin – truly caring for others over self, and always choosing affection and reception over rejection and disgust.