How to Treat Christians Who Are Weak in Faith
1 Welcome people who are weak in faith, but don’t get into an argument over differences of opinion. 2 Some people believe that they can eat all kinds of food. Other people with weak faith believe that they can eat only vegetables. 3 People who eat all foods should not despise people who eat only vegetables. In the same way, the vegetarians should not criticize people who eat all foods, because God has accepted those people. 4 Who are you to criticize someone else’s servant? The Lord will determine whether his servant has been successful. The servant will be successful because the Lord makes him successful.
5 One person decides that one day is holier than another. Another person decides that all days are the same. Every person must make his own decision. 6 When people observe a special day, they observe it to honor the Lord. When people eat all kinds of foods, they honor the Lord as they eat, since they give thanks to God. Vegetarians also honor the Lord when they eat, and they, too, give thanks to God. 7 It’s clear that we don’t live to honor ourselves, and we don’t die to honor ourselves. 8 If we live, we honor the Lord, and if we die, we honor the Lord. So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. 9 For this reason Christ died and came back to life so that he would be the Lord of both the living and the dead.
10 Why do you criticize or despise other Christians? Everyone will stand in front of God to be judged. 11 Scripture says,
“As certainly as I live, says the Lord,
everyone will worship me,
and everyone will praise God.”
12 All of us will have to give an account of ourselves to God.
13 So let’s stop criticizing each other. Instead, you should decide never to do anything that would make other Christians have doubts or lose their faith.
14 The Lord Jesus has given me the knowledge and conviction that no food is unacceptable in and of itself. But it is unacceptable to a person who thinks it is. 15 So if what you eat hurts another Christian, you are no longer living by love. Don’t destroy anyone by what you eat. Christ died for that person. 16 Don’t allow anyone to say that what you consider good is evil.
17 God’s kingdom does not consist of what a person eats or drinks. Rather, God’s kingdom consists of God’s approval and peace, as well as the joy that the Holy Spirit gives. 18 The person who serves Christ with this in mind is pleasing to God and respected by people.
19 So let’s pursue those things which bring peace and which are good for each other. 20 Don’t ruin God’s work because of what you eat. All food is acceptable, but it’s wrong for a person to eat something if it causes someone else to have doubts. 21 The right thing to do is to avoid eating meat, drinking wine, or doing anything else that causes another Christian to have doubts. 22 So whatever you believe about these things, keep it between yourself and God. The person who does what he knows is right shouldn’t feel guilty. He is blessed. 23 But if a person has doubts and still eats, he is condemned because he didn’t act in faith. Anything that is not done in faith is sin.
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