S (Scripture): Romans 14:1 Now receive the one who is weak in the faith, and do not have disputes over differing opinions. 2 One person believes in eating everything, but the weak person eats only vegetables. 3 The one who eats everything must not despise the one who does not, and the one who abstains must not judge the one who eats everything, for God has accepted him. 4 Who are you to pass judgment on another’s servant? Before his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.
5 One person regards one day holier than other days, and another regards them all alike. Each must be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 The one who observes the day does it for the Lord. The one who eats, eats for the Lord because he gives thanks to God, and the one who abstains from eating abstains for the Lord, and he gives thanks to God. 7 For none of us lives for himself and none dies for himself. 8 If we live, we live for the Lord; if we die, we die for the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. 9 For this reason Christ died and returned to life, so that he may be the Lord of both the dead and the living.
O (Observation): Paul helps the Christians in Rome to understand that the actions people take are not to be regarded solely for the action itself. Jews and Romans were both beginning to believe that Jesus was their Lord, but their actions were different amongst their individual cultures, even as each was faithful to the Lord Jesus Christ.
So, intent of action is to be considered. Well…how does one begin to understand intent?
First, one must get to know the person to understand their action. Second, after getting to know the person, one must seek to understand the intent of their action. Third, one must begin to understand if the intent is inspired by the person’s devotion to the Lord. If the person is devoting their action to the Lord, then so be it.
Could the other person be misguided? Perhaps. Might one disagree with the course of action. Could be.
Paul doesn’t think anything goes. Rather, he is focused on those who see Jesus as their master. If Jesus is truly one’s master, then the intent is good and pure, resulting in action that should not be critiqued.
And whether the action leads to life or death, Jesus has us covered, thanks to his death and resurrection.
A (Application): So which master are we following? That seems to me to be the key question, for that answer will inform our actions more than anything else.
Since we are not perfect on this side of the Kingdom, we can certainly falter. So we should be open to constantly discerning who our master is in order to discern if our actions are good and of pure in intent.
When our master is the Lord Jesus Christ, our actions will bear fruit of some sort. When our master is anything else, we will serve it and thus ourselves.
If you’re wondering why someone else is doing something, don’t just judge their action. Get to know them and in doing so, you will get to know their intent. If the intent is wholesome, perhaps you need to let go of your resistance. If their intent is self-serving, don’t expect it to bear fruit. If their intent is to cause harm, you will have to discern whether or not to help keep that harm from occurring.
P (Prayer): Lord, give us wisdom. Amen.