This is the fourteenth installment of what I hope to be a complete “translation” of Romans. Please note that this is not scripture; it is my understanding of scripture. Any with questions or concerns should check the original.
Fourteenth chapter of Romans
Don’t judge people who have different opinions than you on non-core issues … accept those whose faith is weak.
One man believes he is allowed to eat anything; another – whose faith is weak – eats only vegetables.
Whichever you are, don’t be proud. You who eat, don’t despise the one who doesn’t eat. And you who don’t eat, don’t condemn the one who does eat.
Why? God has accepted each of you. And who are you to judge the someone else’s servant? His own master will decide whether he will stand or fall. And he will stand – because the Lord is able to make him stand.
In the same way, one person thinks some days – like holidays, feast days, or Sundays – are more important than other days. Another thinks all days are the same. Each should be totally convinced in his own mind – the one who considers one day special, should make it special to the Lord. And he who eats all foods, does it in God’s sight, and gives thanks to God.
None of us lives only for himself, nor do we die for ourselves. We live for the Lord, and when we die, we die for the Lord as well. So whether living or dying, we belong to God.
That’s exactly why Jesus, the one who was appointed, died and returned to life … so that He can be the Lord of both the dead and the living.
So why do you then look down on others, think yourself superior, and judge them? Don’t you know that we will all stand for judgement in God’s courtroom? Each of us will give an account of his own life to God. As it is written in Isaiah 45:23,
As surely as I live, says God, every knee will bow before me, and every tongue will confess to God.
So let’s stop judging and condemning each other. Instead, decide not to put any unnecessary hurdles in other people’s paths.
For example, as one who lives close to the Lord Jesus, I’m completely certain that no food is forbidden or unclean by itself. But if you think it is forbidden, then it is forbidden for you! And if your friend or brother gets upset by what you’re eating or doing, don’t hurt him by continuing to do it – then you are not acting in love for him … whom Christ also died for.
But also, do not let people call evil what you think is good. Because the kingdom of God is not about food and drink, but about goodness, peace with God, and joy in the Holy Spirit. Anyone who serves God in this way is pleasing to God and will be approved by people.
Therefore, let’s make every effort to do what leads to peace and each other’s enlightenment. Don’t ruin God’s work just for comparatively small things like which foods you prefer.
All things are pure … but it is wrong for you to do something you believe is wrong. And it is wrong to do something that results in your brother stumbling or sinning or being offended.
So: whatever you believe about these sort of things, keep it between yourself and God.
You are blessed when you do not feel false guilt about doing things that you believe are right. But if you have doubts, don’t do those things! They are evil for you – because whatever is not by faith is division from God.