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Tuesday, August 20, 2002

Edifier du Jour-Romans 14:1-6
1 Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions. 2 One person has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables only. 3 The one who eats is not to regard with contempt the one who does not eat, and the one who does not eat is not to judge the one who eats, for God has accepted him. 4 Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand. 5 One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord, and he who eats, does so for the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who eats not, for the Lord he does not eat, and gives thanks to God.
Back in the Roman era, butchers would typically dedicate/sacrifice the animal to one of the local deities. To a first-century believer who didn't want anything to do with false gods, going veggie was the best option. Other people, knowing that there is only one God, didn't wrestle with the Greco-Roman gods idea and chowed down. We have fights today over what is proper behavior for a believer, like (1) going to a movie theater or (2) drinking a beer or (3) wearing shorts to church. My take on those: (1) depends on whether the movie's edifying (2) I don't myself, but others can, if it is a beer rather than six and (3) as long as other people are-I don't want to be the outlier. Others would think the first two are out-and-out sin and the third is disrespectful of God. For that person, downing a brew would be sin, and he shouldn't do so. Nor should you waive John 2, where Jesus' first miracle was turning water into wine, at the tee-totaler. In areas where tradition rather than scripture have restrained behavior, we need to not be judgmental either way. One church worships out of the latest praise CDs in jeans and sneakers; the members will tend to be dismissive of the hymns-and-Sunday-best crowd as stuck-in-the-mud legalists. Returning the favor, the more-restrained traditionalist will dismiss the irreverent noise and worldly attitude going on down the street. Both are worshiping God the best way they know how. Let's remember not to confuse preference to godliness. If it's definable as unbiblical behavior, and you can back it up, feel free to call someone on it. Otherwise, leave it alone.

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