Romans 14:13-18, ” 13Therefore 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. 14As 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. 15If 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. 16Do not allow what you consider good to be spoken of as evil. 17For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, 18because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men. “
The Bible is quite clear that as far as loving people goes, we have a unique responsibility to other believers. In Romans 14 (and a few other places) we learn that back then new Christians thought that eating meat that had been sacrificed to idols was not honoring God. Older Christians realized that the idols were nothing and would freely eat the meat. Whenever they went to market, they knew that most of the meat had likely been sacrificed to an idol. Paul laid down the principle that while a believer is absolutely free to eat the meat if he so chooses, he should not offend his brother in the faith or cause him to stumble in any way. In the same way, when a Christian chooses to celebrate a day as holier than any other, it is for him holy, but not neccessarily should he make others celebrate it.
Paul also tells us that what leads to mutual edification is good. The building up of each other. So how can we apply this to today? Say you’re out at a restaurant and have just finished ordering. While you’re waiting for your food, a friend, a new Christian who you led to christ happens to see you and comes to join you. He tells you that through your sponsorship of him at his AA meetings, he has managed to stay sober for a month. At that moment the waiter brings you that $75.00 bottle of wine you ordered. Your friend didn’t know that you occasionally drank to celebrate special occasions, this particular one was a lucrative business contract you achieved earlier that day. You can tell that your friend is hurt. Realizing your responsibility to your friend and brother in the faith, you tell the waiter to send that bottle of wine anonymously to the man who had just successfully proprosed to his girlfriend over at the other table and wish them the best.
I had written that it was high time that Christians took the familiness aspect seriously. If your brother or sister needed you to drive a hundred fifty miles to come and keep an eye on your nieces and nephew for the weekend would you hesitate? If your cousin told you that his car was out of comission would you let him borrow yours for the week? If your great uncle was cleaning out the old barn, would you lend him a hand? yet why are the hardest ministries to get up and running is the helping out? Why did the youth only do a few projects? Why did so few show up to them? How come we can help out family (who we’re stuck with) and not our church (who we choose to spend our Sundays with)? So, brothers and sisters, what do you say?