How Our Attitude Spreads to Others

The noted English architect Sir Christopher Wren was supervising the construction of a magnificent cathedral in London. A journalist thought it would be interesting to interview some of the workers, so he chose three and asked them this question, “What are you doing?” T … More

Attitude

Paul has been warning about judging other Christians, and how it affects our attitudes and actions toward them, even to the point of hindering our own walk with the Lord. Now he shows the other side of the coin and what kind of an effect our convictions and actions can have on other Christians. Paul makes the following points:

  1. We can cause others to stumble (vv. 13-15). The strong Christian has spiritual knowledge, but if he does not show love, his knowledge may hurt the weak Christian. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up (I Corinthians 8:1). The issue is not “How does it affect me?” but should be “If I do this, how will it affect my brother? Will it cause him to grieve or stumble?”
  2. Spiritual priorities are essential to harmony in the Church (vv. 16-18). Christians often have a way of majoring in the minors. Churches split over such minor matters as the location of the piano in the auditorium, or what color to paint the walls. If each believer would major on a godly life, we would not have Christians fighting each other over minor matters.
  3. Christians must help each other to grow (vv. 19-23). The strong believer needs to grow in love, and the weak believer needs to grow in knowledge. We cannot expect a new believer to be mature in the faith as soon as he is saved. Instead he needs the kind of fellowship that will encourage him to grow.

We can sum up Paul’s thinking in this way: in essentials, unity; in nonessentials, liberty; in all things, charity. At the Jerusalem Council (Acts 15) the Gentile church in Antioch was asked not to eat meat that had been sacrificed to idols. Paul was at this Jerusalem council and he accepted this request. It was not that he felt that eating such meat was wrong, but because this practice would deeply offend many Jewish believers. God called us to be interdependent and not independent.

Application

Lord, help me to have a good attitude. I know that my actions will be controlled by my attitude. If my attitude is right my actions will be OK.

Romans 14:13-23 (English Standard Version)

Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean. For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died. So do not let what you regard as good be spoken of as evil. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding. Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for anyone to make another stumble by what he eats. It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble. The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who has no reason to pass judgment on himself for what he approves. But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.

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