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Romans 14:15 – Sorrowing?

09-02-2022 - Posted by Hans

For if, because of food, your brother is sorrowing, you are no longer walking according to love…

Paul agrees here with what he wrote in verse 13b: “Do not place a stumbling block or a snare for the brother.” Sure, I can and may take any kind of food (14:2), but when I know that it seriously upsets my brother, I am not walking by the rule of love.

Note that this is not about a brother who is irritated or angry or who wants to hinder what I do. That is pure lust for power to which we should not succumb. As Paul did not shy away from people who “spy out our freedom which we have in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 2:4,5) He did not ponder! For that is legalism and tyranny to be openly resisted (Gal.2:11). Partly because such behavior is often motivated by hypocrisy: wanting to look good for outside world.

The situation in the above verse is that my behavior saddens my brother, causing him to falter. So he doesn’t fall for my behavior (=annoyance), but because of my behaviour. Who would want that? In that case, I better refrain from certain foods. For love builds up (1 Cor.8:1).