Today’s reading is a very practical guide for those who have accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior as to how to interact with others. But I think it also applies to so many other aspects of our lives as well. The bottom line is that you should never become such a zealot in what you personally believe that you become judgmental to those around you and even potentially hinder their ability to be in communion with God. Wow, aren’t those words relevant in today’s Church, and indeed relevant to religious conflict throughout the world!
In these verses, Paul is specifically telling the new Roman converts that the ancient Jewish laws and customs regarding what you eat, how you eat it and when you eat it were no longer relevant after the crucifixion of Jesus. What we may see as a desire to “teach” someone in God’s way may actually be the very thing destroying them and, indeed, us. It’s the old adage that we don’t see the forest for the trees. Paul says “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness, peach and joy in the Holy Spirit…”
Paul goes on to instruct us to keep what we believe between ourselves and God. I believe that believers are meant to be facilitators for non-believers, portals to God’s awesome love. We are not meant to stand in front of that portal and force everyone who comes up to it to take and pass a litmus test before passing through. Jesus certainly never referred to such a thing during his teachings.
If all of us of faith truly lived this way, there would be no religious arguments, no religious wars, no divisions of any kind due to religion. Now that is something all of us can support and do our part by living Paul’s words every day.