Unlimited: Don’t Destroy Others Through Your Eating
Oct 17, 2023 234
If your brother or sister is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy someone for whom Christ died (Romans 14:15).
The Roman church was composed mainly of Gentile believers, but also contained a component of Jewish and Jewish-influenced believers. It wasn’t that there was anything morally wrong if Gentiles ate outside of the Jewish food laws, but they were to consider their fellow Jewish believers who had stricter views about what could and couldn’t be eaten.
Paul was facing two issues around food. The first one was that some of the Jewish believers objected to the Gentiles eating food that they considered to be impure or unclean, and the other issue was that the Gentiles, through eating in freedom, caused offense to some of these Jewish believers.
To do so is to destroy others.
Having earlier told the believers not to judge one another on these issues, now he goes even further, and tells them to take personal responsibility for what they eat in terms of how their choices affect others. We are not to flaunt our freedom, but instead we should be careful that what we eat does not cause offense to those who are weaker in faith. To do so, says Paul, is to destroy others.
While many would agree with Paul’s first instruction, to not judge, how many would agree with his second, to limit our own personal freedom for the sake of others? Paul tells us that that’s what love does.
The commandment says, “You shall not murder.” Jesus said that when you become angry at your brother or sister, you have broken that commandment (Matt. 5:21–22.) But have you ever killed anyone through your lifestyle choices, like food?