HOW HAVE WE LOVED AND HONORED OTHERS IN THEIR DIFFERENCES?

WHAT DID GOD SAY IN HIS WORD?

As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. 2 One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. 3 Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him.

4 Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand. 5 One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God. 7 For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. 8 For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. 9 For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.

10 Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; 11 for it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” 12 So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.

Recall from Sunday:

In the face of our differences we embrace one another with charity (Rom. 14:1-3), we stand with clarity (14:4-9) and we kneel in humility (14:10-12).

Reflect:

What are the most significant notes you took during the sermon?

What did you learn about God and his plans for us from the Bible passage?

WHAT DID GOD SAY TO ME THROUGH HIS WORD?

Paul clearly had a side he favored in the fight at the church in Rome (strong, vs. weak), but the bigger issue was the fight itself and the judgmentalism and spite that went with it. Have you ever had a fight that ended by realizing the other person was worth more to you than the issue? How did you come to that realization?

Paul calls both sides of the fight to have firm conviction about what they believe, not so they can fight harder with each other, but so that they can see each other as servants of God, dedicated to working hard to honor the Lord in everything. Have you done the hard work to have clarity in your convictions, or do you waver and waffle? Do you assume the worst or the best about people who disagree with you? Why?

Clarity of conviction can lead right back to pride, so Paul reminds the church that we are not the judges, but will all stand before the judgment seat of God. Who have you judged this week? Is there someone you find yourself often thinking judgmentally about? How would God have you relate to that person?

HOW CAN WE LOVE AND HONOR OTHERS IN THEIR DIFFERENCES?

Pick an issue you need clarity on. Come up with a plan with your group about how you’ll come to a resolution about the issue. Invite each other to pray for each other to receive the Spirit’s help in discernment through the process.

Identify someone you’ve fought with or distanced yourself from. Ask the Spirit about whether and how he might have you welcome that person back.