Some things are worth arguing about ……… others are not.
Like, for example, what color we should paint the walls or what color the carpet will be. Granted, I would just as soon not have hot pink for either. But the truth is that whether the wall is pink or blue has no bearing on my spiritual growth or my relationship with God. It doesn’t bring me any closer or drive me any further away from my Father.
In the Christian church, there are what some would call disputable matters and those that we could say are indisputable. There are some things that are non-negotiable if you claim to be a Christian. For example that Jesus is the Son of God. But there are many, many things that ultimately don’t matter.
Paul brings this discussion up in Romans 14. In this chapter, he is not addressing matters of sin; he already dealt with that in the first 13 chapters. We have been set free from the bondage of sin by the righteousness of Christ, which has been graciously imparted to us. Rather he is confronting issues over matters of opinion that could potentially lead to sin.
Let me explain. If you look around your congregation on any given Sunday morning, you will see old people, young people, and middle-aged people. If you were to take a survey on the number of years they had been Christians, you would have some say 40 years while others may say 40 days. You have individuals who grew up 10 miles away while others came from somewhere on the other side of the world. You have some who only drive pickup trucks while others insist on having a sports sedan. You have some who prefer classical music while others only listen to pop rock. You should begin to see my point.
The church is a soup pot of many people. Soup is not made up of just one element; it is a mixture of different vegetables, meat stock, and spices. Each ingredient adds to the overall flavor and enjoyment of the meal. The same applies to the church; each member, no matter how mature or experienced, adds something to the flavor. The potential problems arise when so many different people get thrown in together and begin to find fault with other believers who don’t agree with their way of thinking. Even though these issues may not start out as sin, differences in opinions that are not dealt with properly can become sin.
The purpose of Paul’s discussion is to encourage his readers, and us, that they should not judge people in the church who have a difference of opinion. If someone prefers Pepsi over Coke, so be it. Or if they prefer carrots in their soup, and you prefer potatoes, then don’t be discouraged ……… perhaps their vision will be improved.
4 Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand.
Strive for unity and peace. Don’t let insignificant differences of opinion cause division among you.