Did you know the apostle Paul wrote an entire chapter of a letter to the Romans about food?
It’s true! I read it this morning.
It’s about more than food, of course. But seriously, the whole chapter is about whether or not it was okay for followers of Jesus to eat meat that had been offered to a false god or idol as a sacrifice.
Am I the only weirdo who has referred to a situation as a “meat sacrificed to idols” situation?
Here’s what we really mean.
Is it okay for a Christian to:
Bake a cake for a same-sex wedding?
Watch R-rated movies?
View TV shows with a lot of sex or crass language?
Post bikini selfies on social media?
Go trick or treating?
Vote Republican? Democrat? Green/Rainbow?
Really, though, if we’re following the example set by Paul in Romans 14, it’s more like this:
Why does that Christian get to __________ when God won’t let me?
Smoke cigarettes (this was a big one for me)
Eat sugar and not get fat (go ahead and laugh)
Pierce or tattoo something
Ignore world hunger
Smoke pot (hey, it’s legal here)
Tell dirty jokes
Some of these are a little tongue in cheek or over the top. Obviously, no Christian should ignore world hunger!
But the heart of Romans 14 isn’t really about food or yoga or gay wedding cakes. It’s about not causing another follower of Christ to stumble based on your choices – and it’s also about not thinking you are better than someone else who cannot, in good conscience, do some of the things you do.
This is very relevant to my breaking up with food journey as well as our world today. How do we lift each other up in the midst of disagreement? When perhaps we don’t see eye to eye on non-essential issues? Romans 14 is a good resource for these questions.
I’ll leave you with this rendition of some of the final verses. It really made me laugh. Gotta love The Living Bible!
“Don’t undo the work of God for a chunk of meat. Remember, there is nothing wrong with the meat, but it is wrong to eat it if it makes another stumble. The right thing to do is to quit eating meat or drinking wine or doing anything else that offends your brother or makes him sin.” Romans 14:20-21
Don’t undo the work of God for a chunk of meat, people!
Bible Reading: Romans 13-14
Prayer Cards Prayed: Check
Food Tracked: Check
Daily Reading: Check
Worship in Song: Check
Choosing to Trust: Check