Have you ever stepped into a ‘land mine’ when you shared your opinion? Every opinion is based on a heart belief. Our beliefs come from our experiences and form our bias. Paul addressed this issue in Romans 14 & 15. Embracing hearts rather than opposing opinions is the key to unity.
Romans 14:1-2 says, “Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, leading to edification.” I was in Boston Massachusetts in 1973. I walked all over that city to take in the sights. I came to a construction site. They were getting ready to lay the foundation. The higher the edifice or building, the deeper the foundation had to be laid.
Edifice also means a complex system of beliefs. Edification means to build up. In order to build up a relationship we have to lay a foundation of trust. Verse 7 says, “Therefore receive one another, just as Christ also received us, to the glory of God.” How did the Lord receive us? When we received the Lord as our Savior, John 1:12 says, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.”
Romans 8:17 says, “And if children, then heirs–heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ…” We are joined together in the body of Christ. Colossians 2:19 says, “…holding fast to the Head, from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with increase that is from God.” We are in His family that is full of siblings.
How are we to live? Ephesians 4:29 says, “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.” Arguing over opinions is futile for building up another. It is opposing God’s way which is receiving another through embracing their heart.
Romans 15:1 says, “We then who are strong ought to bear with the scruples of the weak, and not to please ourselves.” Verse 6 says, “That you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Who are the strong and who are the weak? The strong one builds up, and the weak one tears down. Tearing another down is a fleshly reaction that does not befit one who is seeking to walk as Jesus walked.
When the disciples rebuked the Lord for paying attention to the children, what did He say? Matthew 19:14 says, “…Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them, for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:4 says, “Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
Back up to Romans 14:2. It says that we are to please our neighbor for their good. Good is a noun that means morally right or righteous. Building up through the nurture and truth of God’s word is His way. We embrace another’s heart by speaking truth in love. There is no love exhibited when opinions are argued over. There is no love displayed as a testimony of God’s love at work in our heart. Let us walk in the Spirit and not fulfill the lust of our flesh in disputes just to be right and mighty in our own eyes to the detriment of another.