Lord of the Church, I thank You for Your church throughout the world, and that I’m a member of it.
Read ROMANS 14:13-23
 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way.  As one who is in the Lord Jesus, I am fully convinced that no food is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for him it is unclean.  If your brother is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy your brother for whom Christ died.  Do not allow what you consider good to be spoken of as evil.  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.  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.  So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the man who does not condemn himself by what he approves.  But the man who has doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin. Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectWhat is the principle of Christian conduct given here?
It’s time to put the wheels on Paul’s teaching so far about accepting, and not judging, one another. It’s one thing to keep our feelings about other people to ourselves and it’s another entirely when we are forced to rub up against people we really don’t understand.
Using the example of eating and drinking customs (hot-button issues for the mixed church of Jews and Gentiles working out how to live together in first-century Rome) Paul navigates these tricky waters, always preferring the weaker brother.
There might well be some direct applications for us living in multicultural societies and trying to grow churches that welcome all people. But more generally what Paul is saying is that protecting our relationships is the most important thing, even if we see things differently.
It’s better, says Paul, to lose an argument than to risk losing a friend. What’s the number of separate denominations? There are estimated to be over 33,000. Nonetheless, we’re all members of the same “body,” Jesus’ church.
How does knowing that our lives are being crafted together by God affect your attitude toward your church today?
Lord Jesus, may I be one who promotes love and unity within Your beloved church, wherever it may be found.
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