Romans 14

Bible opened to Romans 14 with Equal Exchange Panama Extra Dark Chocolate and glass of milk

WARNING: Uneven Chocolate Break detected. That’s two in a row. What is wrong with you?

Today’s Passage: Romans 14

In Romans 14:2, Paul writes, “One person has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables only,” demonstrating that no mature Christian is a vegetarian.

But seriously (because that was a joke! Vegetarians, I love you and support your dietary choices, so please don’t send me hate messages), Paul here tells his readers to follow their own consciences when it comes to diet and to not pass judgment on each other. To Paul, whether you eat (or abstain) in faith is much more important than what you eat and don’t eat.

The principles Paul teaches here remind me of Jesus’ words concerning Jewish dietary practices: “It is not what enters into the mouth that defiles the man, but what proceeds out of the mouth, this defiles the man. …[T]he things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man” (Matthew 15:11, 18). We’re so ready to judge our fellow Christians–for example, to judge them as immoral for drinking alcohol, or as weak and uptight for condemning alcohol–when we ought to be bearing with them and seeking to understand them. I’ll be honest, sometimes I express frustration by dropping a certain four-letter synonym for excrement, but I don’t pass judgment on those who choose not to use certain words. Whatever we say, whether we keep particular words out of our speech or not, we ought to speak trusting in God and aiming to please him with what we say.

When Paul talks in verses 5 and 6 about “One man regards one day above another, while another regards every day alike,” is he talking about when and whether a person keeps the Sabbath? It seems to me that this would be another issue to be determined by personal liberty and conscience. But should you apply the principles of Romans 14 to the issue of fair-trade, ethically-sourced chocolate? Food for thought. One thing’s for certain, I shouldn’t use my choices as an excuse to look down on those who eat Hershey’s or Reese’s.

Today’s chocolate, like yesterday’s and that of the day before, is Panama extra dark chocolate from Equal Exchange. I still have a few squares left, but over the weekend I’ll be picking up some more chocolate for my supply. What chocolate should I get? If you have any suggestions, please drop a comment!

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