In Rome, the Christians could not agree about certain matters, so they began to accuse each other. As previously (2:21-23), Paul says that it would be much better for Christians to accuse themselves. Their opinions may be correct, but those opinions are causing trouble for weaker Christians (compare 1 Corinthians 8:9-12).
We need to care for those Christians whose relationship with God is weak. So, we should not do anything that might spoil their relationship with God (Mark 9:42). In particular, we should not urge them to do something that they believe to be wrong.
The first Christians often used a word-picture for that kind of behaviour. They compared it to someone who places a stone on the path in front of someone else. The stone will cause that other person to fall; he may hurt himself badly. However, the person who put the stone there is responsible. What he has done is very wicked (compare Leviticus 19:14).
Whenever our opinion is different from someone else’s opinion, we believe ourselves to be right. We might consider that other person to be weak or even foolish. Perhaps that is why we choose to argue rather than to show love to that person. We may even think that, by our arguments, we are helping that person. However, the reality may be that we are urging them to act against their conscience. What is right for us to do may not be right for another person to do (Romans 14:14; 1 Corinthians 8:9). So we should pray for weak people, and we should deal with them gently. That is how Christ behaved (Matthew 11:28-30 and 12:18-21); that is how we must act too (John 13:12-17).
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© 2018, Keith Simons.