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Indifferent Matters Are Not Always Indifferent

Lent 2023

Read Romans 14:1–9

1 As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. 2 One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. 3 Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. 4 Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

5 One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God. 7 For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. 8 For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord's. 9 For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.

Whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. Romans 14:8

Indifferent matters—things neither commanded nor forbidden in Scripture—are not always indifferent. Context is important. St. Paul addresses such topics differently in his letter to Galatians—where those differences threatened both the church and the Gospel—than here in his letter to the Romans.

Here, differences are seen in the context of people who agree about what the Bible says. With that foundation, their choices on topics where the word is silent can differ from each other. But we sometimes discover situations where we might need to limit our freedom for the sake of those who are weak in faith. Here we find three guidelines:

  • What Christ’s people are doing, they are doing “in honor of the Lord.” v. 6
  • Christians bear with one another to honor Christ as Lord of all. vv. 7-9
  • We are not the judge. God is. v. 4

In a beautiful way, St. Paul gives a new perspective to Christ’s people whose perspectives may differ: “Whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.” (v. 8)


Lord, you are our Lord and we are yours. Help us to love and support one another. Amen.

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