1 Welcome those who are weak in faith, but not for the purpose of quarreling over opinions. 2 Some believe in eating anything, while the weak eat only vegetables. 3 Those who eat must not despise those who abstain, and those who abstain must not pass judgment on those who eat; for God has welcomed them. 4 Who are you to pass judgment on servants of another? It is before their own lord that they stand or fall. And they will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make them stand. 5 Some judge one day to be better than another, while others judge all days to be alike. Let all be fully convinced in their own minds. 6 Those who observe the day, observe it in honor of the Lord. Also those who eat, eat in honor of the Lord, since they give thanks to God; while those who abstain, abstain in honor of the Lord and give thanks to God. 7 We do not live to ourselves, and we do not die to ourselves. 8 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, so that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living. 10 Why do you pass judgment on your brother or sister? Or you, why do you despise your brother or sister? 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 give praise to God." 12 So then, each of us will be accountable to God. 13 Let us therefore no longer pass judgment on one another, but resolve instead never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of another. 14 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. 15 If your brother or sister is being injured by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. Do not let what you eat cause the ruin of one for whom Christ died. 16 So do not let your good be spoken of as evil. 17 For the kingdom of God is not food and drink but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 The one who thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and has human approval. 19 Let us then pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding. 20 Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for you to make others fall by what you eat; 21 it is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that makes your brother or sister stumble. 22 The faith that you have, have as your own conviction before God. Blessed are those who have no reason to condemn themselves because of what they approve. 23 But those who have doubts are condemned if they eat, because they do not act from faith; for whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.
Finding our Way Back to Peace
by Bridget Fuselier, J.D.
Peace. That has been hard to find this year. No one could have predicted the twists and turns the year would take. When the pandemic hit in March and we entered the shelter-in-place phase of 2020, I was anxious and confused. But in the beginning of it all, I really did believe "we were all in this together" as the message was often repeated in every news outlet. Unfortunately, while numbers of infected people and deaths rose, things changed. It seems like we quickly strayed from unity and support to judgment and division.
As we were entering the new school year, my prayer was for God to give me peace so that I could serve as a calming example to my students. As I watch the news or get on social media, it has become increasingly difficult to find peace. We seem to see no problem with hurling insults and casting judgment on one another. Sometimes we even seen words turn into violence. I just keep searching for the answer to the question - why?
Judgment. Doesn't that just seem like a bad word? It comes with negative connotations although the true dictionary definition is simply "the ability to judge, make a decision, or form an opinion objectively, authoritatively, and wisely." We all make judgments every day about all sorts of important and inconsequential matters.
But what about judging people? The definition states "to form, give, or have as an opinion, or to decide about something or someone, especially after thinking carefully: ... to express a bad opinion of someone's behaviour, often because you think you are better than them." This is exactly what God has asked us not to do. But I wrestle with this internally. How do I not judge someone who has expressed opinions of hatred, racism and intolerance? How do I continue living and working with people who may have now made known opinions that were once hidden? How can I make peace with this?
Romans 14 seems to be the answer to get back to peace, unity and civility. Verses 10-14 particularly help in this current climate to consider how we can find peace in our families and communities again. In Romans 14, God instructs us not to despise our brother and to not pass judgment on one another. God never gives us the easy way out. He places these challenges to allow us to grow as individuals in the way that He has shaped us.
It seems that we become so incredibly judgmental that we have lost sight of God's plan for us. He does not ask us to hate, to alienate, to judge. He asks us to praise Him and to neither pass judgment on our brother nor place obstacles in our brother's way of praising God in his own way. Who are we to refuse to love our neighbor because of a different belief when God does not? Who are we to hate and insult our neighbor when God does not?
To find my way back to peace, I must keep these words ever-present. We all need to. Let us not pass judgment on one another, but rather love, embrace and support our neighbor. Let us listen to our neighbor to better understand. Maybe then we can all find some peace this Advent season and beyond.
Learn More About Our Guest Writer
Bridget Fuselier, J.D.
Professor Bridget Fuselier is a Professor of Law at the Baylor Law. She focuses on Property, Texas Land Practice and Advanced Trial Advocacy Skills. She coaches a number of advocacy interscholastic teams and is the faculty sponsor for Baylor Law's Public Interest Society. She also serves as contributing editor in the area of Real Estate Law for General Practice Digest.
She earned her J.D. magna cum laude from Baylor Law in 1998, where she served as Editor-in-Chief and Assistant Managing Editor of the Baylor Law Review.
After earning her J.D., Professor Fuselier moved to Beaumont and joined the firm of Mehaffy Weber, PC, as an associate in 1998 and was elected as a shareholder in 2004. Her litigation experience includes the successful representation of defendants in medical malpractice, premises liability, and employment discrimination cases. Professor Fuselier has authored and published articles for the Baylor Law Review, Texas Lawyer, and Houston Lawyer on topics involving medical malpractice litigation. In 2006, she was selected as the Jefferson County Outstanding Young Lawyer. She was also selected as a Rising Star by Texas Monthly in 2005 and 2006 in the area of civil litigation.