Don’t argue with people that are different
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, those that only eat vegetables and those that eat everything.
4 So you can’t tell anybody else they are wrong. God is their boss, not you. So only God can tell them if they do good or go 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 rest are not.” Other people think, “Each day is the same as every other day.” Each of us has to make up his own mind about this.
6 Those that make one day special do so to give respect to God on that day. And those that eat all kinds of food do so to give respect to God. They say thank you to God for that food. And in the same way those that don’t eat some sorts of food do so to give respect to God. They say thank you to God too.
7-8 None of us is his own boss. We belong to God and he is our good boss all the time that we are alive, and he is still our good boss after we die.
9 Remember that Jesus died and then became alive again. So now he is the good boss of people that are alive and also the boss of 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 Like we read in God book,
“God says, ‘This is for sure. Everybody will get down on their knees in front of me to give respect to me.
And everybody will say that I’m really good, the only great God.’ ”
12 This 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, and I’m really sure, that our leader, Jesus, taught like this, he said, “There is nothing wrong at all with any food.” But somebody might believe that it is wrong to eat some sort of food. Alright, it is wrong for that person to eat it, but not for anybody else.
15-16 But if you know something is all right, so you think you will eat it, and if you know that another Christian will get upset if you eat it, then leave it. Don’t eat 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 is good 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 do the things that are right, and we will always be calm and settled, and always be happy. If we live like this 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 getting all his people to come together into one mob, but if you eat something that upsets one of these new Christians 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 to stop believing.
21 So don’t eat any meat, and don’t drink any wine if another Christian will get upset and go wrong if you do it.
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, so just let it be like a secret that you both know about. 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 about whether it is right or wrong for him to eat something, then he can’t eat it. If he doesn’t believe that it is all right to eat, but then if he eats it anyway, then God will say that he does wrong. If we don’t believe that something is all right, then it is wrong for us to do it.