Stumbling Brothers (1)

  • “Do not cause your brother to stumble.” Have you ever been reprimanded by one of God’s self appointed junior “holy spirits” with this statement? I purposely left the reference to the Holy Spirit in lower case, because in the previous sentence context it would cause me to stumble if it was capitalized.

    Hahahahahaha. Little humor there. But it’s not funny when this particular false teaching is released on new Christians, or long time Christians who have no clue about the total truth surrounding this error.

    First of all, please find the scripture that says “do not cause your brother to stumble”. There is none. Paul stated in Romans 14:21 “It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak”. Here it is in the ERV. “It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything else that hurts the faith of your brother or sister”. One more…The NLT. “It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything else if it might cause another believer to stumble.”

    Studying scripture is so important, because if you just read these verses, you will automatically default to the old saying “do not cause your brother to stumble”. These verses aren’t saying that. Look very closely. It is subtle but clear that they are saying you have a choice to make. It is better to make a choice to avoid something, lets say deny yourself, if asserting your right to take an action would cause another person to waiver. So it’s more about asserting your right to deny yourself in favor of considering others above yourself.

    Now the first thing I notice when studying this verse is that there is no command associated with the verse. It doesn’t say, “thou shalt not”, it says “It is good neither to…”, and “It is better not to…”. So first of all, like our good friend Susan always says, “don’t let people should on you”. Let me add to that and say don’t let anyone say to you, “you have to” or “you need to”.

    The answer to religious double-speak like that is to simply advise them that if they will show you in scripture what it is they think is truth, you will immediately repent from your incorrect ways and change. But don’t let them come to you with their opinions and not present truth. In those instances where they bring a scripture, most of the time what you will find is it’s out of context and doesn’t mean at all what they think. Many will default to an old testament law which they will try to layover a new testament grace statement. The twenty seven books of the new testament are not called the "changed" testaments. They are new. The old has passed away.

    Like what we’re discussing here. That scripture in Romans 14:21 does not say “don’t cause your brother to stumble”. So now let’s put it in context and then we’ll look at what are the true stumbling blocks to someone’s truth walk with Jesus. Here we go in Romans 14 using the ERV.

    Be willing to accept those who still have doubts about what believers can do. And don’t argue with them about their different ideas.

    When we are first born again, we don’t have all the knowledge necessary to know what is allowed and what is not allowed in our Christian walk. For the longest time, I quit listening to country music, stopped drinking a beer or wine, wouldn’t eat pork, and didn’t go to movies that were rated other than G. Then we went to an associate pastors home for dinner one night and guess what they served? You guessed it….pork and wine. Now what do I do. So we discussed it and I gained some knowledge about what is okay and what is not as we’ll see in this Chapter 14 of Romans.

    Some people believe they can eat any kind of food, but those who have doubts eat only vegetables. Those who know they can eat any kind of food must not feel that they are better than those who eat only vegetables. And those who eat only vegetables must not decide that those who eat all foods are wrong. God has accepted them.

    Again, verses 2 and 3 are making my point about my comment to verse 1. What I believed about what I was free to do changed as I increased in knowledge and revelation, but I shouldn’t pick on those who are not at that same level. Guess what? My beliefs about what scripture was truly saying changed also as I grew in the knowledge and wisdom of the Lord.

    That reminds me about a continuing discourse I had with another brother in Christ. He was very works oriented and would not change his wrong believing even when I presented him with absolute truth. He still had the ya but ministry.

    He was one of those who saw it in scripture, agreed with me on what it said, but would not accept it, because it was just too good to be true. I told him one day that I was okay with where he was in his walk with Jesus, but why wouldn’t he accept where I was in my walk?

    Good question. He said to me it was because what I believed kept me always walking on the edge of the supernatural and signs and wonders. I told him……perfect. It’s where we all ought to be, because if you’re not walking on the edge, how can you step off with faith into the supernatural realm where signs and wonders follow you?

    No comment from him. He said after a long pause, I just think you’re dangerous. I told him he was right. I’m a nuclear spiritual bomb ready to explode and destroy into pieces all the works of the devil which included false teaching and wrong believing. End of conversation.

    You cannot judge the servants of someone else. Their own master decides if they are doing right or wrong. And the Lord’s servants will be right, because the Lord is able to make them right.

    Whoa….did you see that? Wow!!! I’ve never seen that. “And the Lord’s servants will be right, because the Lord is able to make them right.” What??? You mean we don’t have to make ourselves right by works and ordinances and rules and laws and charters? Yay!!! The Lord is able to make His servants right. Pressures off me.

    Some people might believe that one day is more important than another. And others might believe that every day is the same. Everyone should be sure about their beliefs in their own mind.

    This scripture comes into play when the “days and times” seekers argue about when the passover really occurred, when Jesus really went to the grave, when He really rose. How could you possibly count 3 days from Friday to Sunday. WHO CARES???? I’m simply thankful that He was crucified, died and was buried, then rose again for my sins and now lives, so that I can live also. Give me a break and a brain.

    Now I can go into the whys and wherefores about the 3 days, but is that going to bring someone to faith in Jesus. This is a good example of what Romans 14:21 says when it mentions “anything else that hurts the faith of your brother or sister”. The point is Jesus is alive for you.

    Those who think one day is more important than other days are doing that for the Lord. And those who eat all kinds of food are doing that for the Lord. Yes, they give thanks to God for that food. And those who refuse to eat some foods do that for the Lord. They also give thanks to God. We don’t live or die just for ourselves. If we live, we are living for the Lord. And if we die, we are dying for the Lord. So living or dying, we belong to the Lord. That is why Christ died and rose from death to live again—so that he could be Lord over those who have died and those who are living.

    Again, this is my point exactly that I stated in my comments to verse 5. Jesus is alive and we get to live as a result. Also, our beliefs are not to impress others. We believe as unto the Lord. He gives us the ability to have faith in what we believe.

    10 So why do you judge your brother or sister in Christ? Or why do you think that you are better than they are? We will all stand before God, and he will judge us all. 11 Yes, the Scriptures say, “As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, Everyone will bow before me; everyone will say that I am God.”

    12 So each of us will have to explain to God about the things we do. 13 So we should stop judging each other. Let’s decide not to do anything that will cause a problem for a brother or sister or hurt their faith. 14 I know that there is no food that is wrong to eat. The Lord Jesus is the one who convinced me of that. But if someone believes that something is wrong, then it is wrong for that person.

    Who convinced Paul that there is no food that is wrong to eat? The Lord. Right and wrong will always change, but good and evil never will. So in my case. I like steak. We know people that haven’t eaten beef for a number of years. Now they’ve just become accustomed to avoiding those items of food. I’m not judging them for that because it’s right for them. They’re not judging me for eating it, because it’s right for me.

    So here’s my question. In this situation of eating steak or not eating steak, is it my responsibility to avoid eating a steak when I’m at dinner with them, or is it their responsibility to avoid demanding I don’t eat a steak when I’m with them? If I avoid choosing to eat steak, because that will make them comfortable, isn’t that making me uncomfortable because they are putting a control mechanism on me?

    Will they stumble (notice I didn’t say will I cause them to stumble) if I eat the steak, or will I stumble because they don’t eat a steak. The answer is clear. Just ask them. Is it all right if I eat steak? Is it all right if I have a glass of wine knowing you avoid drinking wine? Is it all right if I put my feet up on your furniture? Do you get my point?

    It is a matter of asserting your rights in a way that screams “I can and will do what I want”, as opposed to realizing you do have a right to do those things you believe are right. However, is it profitable to your relationship with someone else or is it just asserting yourself to act on what you believe to be right. I would rather have relationship than be right.

    It was difficult to determine the best place to break up this teaching, so make sure you do a quick review of this part 1 before going to part 2. Part 2 will bring out more truths on this subject to arm you against the naysayers. Grace and Peace.