Don’t argue with other Christians
1 There are some Christians that are not sure if it is right or wrong for them to do some things. But don’t worry, let people like that be in your church, and don’t argue with them about whatever they think they have to do.
2 It’s like this, some people believe that God will let them eat all sorts of food, but other people are not so sure, so they only eat vegetables.
3 People that eat all sorts of food can’t think that they are better than the others. And people that only eat vegetables can’t tell the other people that they are wrong. God is happy with both sorts of people, people that only eat vegetables and people that eat everything.
4 So you can’t tell anybody else that they are wrong. God is their boss, not you. Only God can say, “You are right,” or, “You are wrong.” And he can help them to keep on doing good.
5 Here is another thing. Some people think like this, “Some days are special for God, and the other days are not.” Other people think, “Each day is the same as every other day.” Each of us has to make up our own mind about it.
6 People that make one day special, they do that to give respect to God on that day. And people that eat all sorts of food, they do that to give respect to God. They say thank you to God for that food. And in the same way, people that don’t eat some sorts of food, they do that to give respect to God. They say thank you to God too.
7-8 None of us is our own boss. We belong to God, and he is our good boss all the time. He is our good boss while we are alive, and he is our good boss after we die.
9 Remember that Jesus died and then came alive again. So now he is the good boss over people that are alive and also the boss over people that are dead.
10 So then it is God, not you, that can tell other Christians that they are wrong. You can’t think that you are better than any other Christian. No. We’ve all got to stand in front of God one day. Then God will tell each of us the things that we did right and the things that we did wrong.
11 We can read this in God’s book,
“God says that this will happen, for sure. Everybody will get down on their knees in front of him to give him respect. And everybody will say that God is really good. They will say that he is the only great God.”
12 That means that one day every one of us will have to face God and tell him all about everything that we ever did.
Don’t make other Christians go wrong
13 So we have to stop being like judges. We have to stop telling each other, “You are wrong.” Instead of that, we have to make sure that we help other Christians, and make sure we don’t do anything that makes them go wrong.
14 I know for sure that our leader, Jesus, said that it’s all right to eat any sort of food. But somebody might believe that it is wrong to eat some sort of food. Then it is wrong for that person to eat it, but not for anybody else.
15-16 Sometimes you might know that something is all right, so you think you will eat it. But if you know that another Christian will get upset when you eat it, then don’t eat it. Leave it. If you love other Christians, you will not do things that hurt them. Remember, Jesus Christ died for those people, so don’t eat that food. You know that it is all right to eat it, but leave it anyway. Then nobody will blame you.
17-18 We belong to God. He doesn’t give us rules about the things that we can’t eat or drink, but he wants us to have his spirit in us so that we will do the things that are right, and we will always feel good and quiet inside ourselves, and we will always be happy. If we live like that as we work for Jesus Christ, then we make God happy. And other people are happy with us too.
19 So we have to do everything we can to help each other. We have to try to agree with each other and to help each other get strong.
20 God is bringing people into his family, but if you eat something that upsets another Christian, so that they go away, you will mess up God’s work. So don’t do that. You know that there is nothing wrong with the food itself, but it is wrong for you to make another person stop believing.
21 So if another Christian will get upset and go wrong because you eat meat or drink wine, then don’t eat any meat, and don’t drink any wine.
22 If you believe it is all right for you to do it, then just keep quiet about it. You know it is all right, and God knows it is all right, but don’t show it off in front of other people. Make up your mind about the right thing to do, and do it. Then you will be happy.
23 But if anyone is not sure if it is right or wrong for them to eat something, then they can’t eat it. If they don’t believe that it is all right to eat, and if they eat it anyway, then God will say that they do wrong. If we don’t believe that something is all right, then it is wrong for us to do it.