Sometimes as we grow as Christians, we forget that we have not always been this mature or understanding. The doctrines we take for granted present a completely different way of life to those who are new to the faith. And so, Paul preaches an attitude of sensitivity and patience towards young believers.
Contrary to our corrective instincts, there should be no judgment, no criticism and no censure of new believers. Rather, we should accept them with open arms; giving them space, encouragement and time to grow.
We must defer to the Holy Spirit’s operation in their lives. It is God who owns them and so it is not our place to direct another’s servant unless that authority has been expressly delegated to us. We must stay in our lane, so to speak.
“As for the man who is a weak believer, welcome him [into your fellowship], but not to criticize his opinions or pass judgment on his scruples or perplex him with discussions.” Romans 14:1 AMP
“Who are you to pass judgment on and censure another’s household servant? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he shall stand and be upheld, for the Master (the Lord) is mighty to support him and make him stand.” Romans 14:4 AMP
God speaks to his servants and has the capacity to reach them. Jesus says his sheep know his voice (John 10:27). Therefore, it is presumptuous to asume he only speaks to mature Christians and in doing so, look down on new believers. We should give them space to develop a direct line of instruction from God because after all is said and done, it is their personal conviction that will create an untroubled conscience and help them stand in the faith. There is no one-upmanship and no glory in appearing to be holier than a brother. Everything we do is in service to God and is never about us. Everything.
“One man esteems one day as better than another, while another man esteems all days alike [sacred]. Let everyone be fully convinced (satisfied) in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. He also who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God; while he who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God.” Romans 14:5-6 AMP
There is a also responsibility of love that constrains us to deny ourselves certain rights and freedoms if they offend, cause doubt or lead to a troubled conscience.
“Then let us no more criticize and blame and pass judgment on one another, but rather decide and endeavor never to put a stumbling block or an obstacle or a hindrance in the way of a brother.” Romans 14:13 AMP
“But if your brother is being pained or his feelings hurt or if he is being injured by what you eat, then you are no longer walking in love. You have ceased to be living and conducting yourself by the standard of love toward him. Do not let what you eat hurt or cause the ruin of one for whom Christ died!” Romans 14:15 AMP
Finally, be sure of what you believe and why you believe what you believe. Develop personal conviction so your conscience doesn’t trip you up with guilt or lead to a constant awareness of sin and condemnation. Ask questions, understand why you do the things you are asked to do and be convinced before you do them. Do not borrow other people’s conviction and emulate something you’re not fully convinced about yet.
“I know and am convinced (persuaded) as one in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is [forbidden as] essentially unclean (defiled and unholy in itself). But [none the less] it is unclean (defiled and unholy) to anyone who thinks it is unclean.” Romans 14:14 AMP
“But the man who has doubts (misgivings, an uneasy conscience) about eating, and then eats perhaps because of you, stands condemned before God, because he is not true to his convictions and he does not act from faith. For whatever does not originate and proceed from faith is sin whatever is done without a conviction of its approval by God is sinful.” Romans 14:23 AMP
Ps: If you would like to know God, simply say a short prayer now asking Jesus to walk with you as Saviour and friend. Then, begin to read the Bible for yourself to become acquainted with God’s thoughts. Email me if you have questions.