Here one believer feels the freedom to eat meat (despite its associations with the local pagan religion), while another is convinced he can only eat vegetables. Paul states that these choices with food, even when the stakes are this high, are a matter of personal conscience. One person is not deemed more righteous or godly because of the restrictions they place on themselves, or don’t place on themselves. God has welcomed both believers—and we should too.
We should ask ourselves, Are we promoting a welcoming atmosphere when we’re strongly stating our opinions on food and medicine in a group of people? What is our tone of voice communicating to those around us when we’re explaining our lifestyle choices? Could we be repelling others by our seemingly haughty and opinionated views on things that are really a matter of personal preference?
Where Is Your Righteousness?
When we strongly identify ourselves with a certain lifestyle choice, we evidence our temptation to find our identity and righteousness in that personal preference. Eating and schooling and vaccinations are areas of personal and family choice that can easily become our cause in life. How intent are you in trying to convert someone to the same schooling method as your family? Or are you out to get everyone to use the same oils as you, while looking down on a sister in Christ who just put their child on a round of antibiotics for an illness?
If we find our conversations continually revolving around our current pet issue, it’s time to ask whether that issue has become too important in our lives. If we’re constantly passing others information about the way we eat, treat illness or school our kids, a red flag should be raised in our minds about what we’re really putting our hope in. As Christians, we have a center and hope that far surpasses these “disputable matters.”
Our One Great Cause
Only in Christ do we find true wisdom, hope and healing. It is his words, promises and all-encompassing truth we should be most eager to pass along to others, not the latest studies reinforcing our family’s food choices as the wisest.
Let’s be known for what Christians are really to be known for: an unfading hope and trust in the power of Christ to change lives—no matter what you eat for breakfast.