Day 25

December 22

December 22

Romans 14

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.

Defining Peace During Advent

by Stacie Petter, Ph.D.

During the Advent season, I often equate the term “peace” to terms like “calm” or “quiet.” This type of peace can be challenging to come by this time of year. Many of us bustle about engaging in a myriad of traditions. We decorate our homes with lights, Christmas trees and wreaths. We view Nativity plays and attend special Christmas services at church. We sing or listen to songs as we celebrate the birth of Jesus. We exchange presents, cookies or cards with others. We spend time with our families and loved ones.

All of these activities and traditions can make it difficult to find a sense of peace, or calmness, during the final weeks of the year.

However, another way can define peace is the engagement of harmony or agreement with others. Romans 14 reminds us about this definition of peace. This passage offers a useful reminder that we are not to criticize or judge our siblings in Christ for their traditions or ways of worship.

For example, during the holiday season, we may notice that some choose to fill their houses with Christmas trees and decorations, while others do not decorate their homes for the holiday season. Some families fill their time attending various holiday parties, school plays or events and church services, while others keep their schedules clear to allow time to meditate and savor the season. We may not understand why some of us celebrate Advent differently, and it can be easy to compare our faith traditions to others and pass judgment on them. In the holiday season and beyond, no matter how we each choose to worship our Lord, Jesus Christ, we are called to avoid judgment, love our fellow believers and live in peace through harmony with them.

Engaging in this definition of peace through harmony is not easy in today’s world. In his letter, Paul tells us that it is not our role to judge or criticize others, because “we will all stand before the judgment seat of God” (Romans 14:10b). By seeking God’s help to avoid the judgment of others, maybe we experience both definitions of peace – harmony and calmness – as we prepare ourselves for the celebration of Jesus’ birth.

Learn More About Our Guest Writer

Stacie PetterStacie Petter, Ph.D.

Stacie Petter, Ph.D., is the Ben H. Williams Professor of Information Systems and Business Analytics in Baylor’s Hamkamer School of Business. Her research focuses on how information systems and technology have the potential to generate not only value and benefits, but also harm, to individuals and organizations. Currently, Dr. Petter is the Graduate Program Director for the PhD in Information Systems program.

Dr. Petter’s research is a compelling example of how Baylor’s scholar researchers can have an impact on the problems of this world. In January 2021, Dr. Petter and a colleague received a National Science Foundation grant to form an interdisciplinary team to analyze obstacles and propose solutions and training to empower law enforcement and other organizations to more effectively combat human trafficking in their communities. Dr. Petter is using her gifts in Data Sciences to effect real change in her communities.