TEN GUIDELINES ABOUT HOW TO TREAT EACH OTHER WHEN WE HAVE DIFFERENCES IN NEGOTIABLE, PREFERENTIAL AREAS

March 27, 2024

TEN GUIDELINES ABOUT HOW TO TREAT EACH OTHER WHEN WE HAVE DIFFERENCES IN NEGOTIABLE, PREFERENTIAL AREAS

Everybody has opinions, some loosely held and some strongly. If I am a follower of Christ, I must let the Word of God determine what I believe. But what about those areas where the word is silent? Where a decision of what to do or not is more of preference than Biblical admonition? Is it okay to disagree with another believer and “agree to disagree,” and how should I view and treat those with whom I disagree?

TEN GUIDELINES

Paul knew that such issues would occur among believers. If not careful, a minor issue can become major and destroy relationships—even destroy a church for whom Christ died. He addresses these questions in Romans 14. These wise guardrails help us.

1. Everybody has opinions in specific areas that may differ. It’s suitable to have differing opinions and preferences in certain areas. Not everything is a non-negotiable Biblical truth, and we must carefully see these opinions correctly (Vs. 1).

2. I must operate in faith with my convictions. Whatsoever is not of faith is sin. I must pray, read God’s Word, and Spirit let the Lord lead me in all areas, even areas that are not clearly defined in the Scripture. (Vs. 2, 5, 23)

3. Every person will stand or fall before the Lord, and the Lord is able to make them stand. I do not have to make judgments about everything everybody else believes (Vs. 4).

4. What I do must be for the Lord and not merely for myself (Vs. 6-7).

5. I must not treat another brother who has a differing opinion about a negotiable area with contempt. Contempt, regardless of the differences, is never acceptable and is an immediate sign of pride. Others will give an account to God, and I should leave it there (Vs. 10-11).

6. I should not judge others in negotiable areas or preferences (Vs. 13).

7. I must not do anything that causes my brother to stumble. If I can lay aside something negotiable for the greater purpose of the gospel and loving my brother, I should (Vs. 13-15).

8. The most significant issues are righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit (Vs. 17).

9. I must not let a minor issue destroy God's work (Vs. 20-21).

10. In all things, I must respond in love, the God-quality that continually responds in self-sacrifice (13, 15).

Don’t be a Pharisee. You’re not right about everything and there’s room for healthy, loving disagreement in many areas. Some issues, clearly found in the Word of God, are worth dying for. But others are not and should be treated with humility, deference, and love.





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