Accept other Christians who are different from you
1 It is difficult for some Christians to trust God completely about everything. You should accept people like that as your friends. Do not argue with them about what they think is right or wrong. 2 Some people believe that they may eat all kinds of food. But other people are not so sure, so they eat only vegetables. 3 People who eat anything must not think that they are better than people who eat only vegetables. Also, people who eat only vegetables must not judge other people who eat anything. They are not doing anything wrong, because God himself has accepted them.
4 God is the master of all believers and they are his servants. You do not have authority to judge someone else's servant. The servant's own master will decide if he has done well or he has done something wrong. And he will serve his master well, because the Lord is able to help him to do that.
5 Some people think that certain days are special and more important than other days. Other people think that all days are the same. Each person should decide what seems right to him. 6 A person who makes a certain day special does that so that he can respect the Lord. A person who eats all kinds of food does that so that he can respect the Lord. He thanks God for the food that he eats. A person who refuses to eat certain foods also does that so that he can respect the Lord. And he also thanks God.
7 None of us lives only to please ourselves. And we do not die to please ourselves. 8 While we live, we want to please the Lord. And when we die, we want that to please the Lord too. So, while we live, or if we die, we continue to belong to the Lord. 9 Christ died and then he became alive again. That happened so that he could be the Lord of all people, those who have died and those who are still alive.
10 So then, if you eat only vegetables, you must not judge other believers. Also, if you eat anything, you must not think that you are better than other believers. Remember that all of us will have to stand in front of God. He will decide whether we have done what is right or wrong. 11 This is written in the Bible:
‘The Lord God says,
“As surely as I live, this will certainly happen:
Everyone will go down on their knees in front of me.
Everyone will praise me that I am God.” ’
12 So, each of us will have to explain to God about the things that we have done.
Do not cause trouble for other Christians
13 So, we must no longer judge other believers. Instead, you must decide never to bring trouble to another believer. Do not cause them to do something wrong. 14 As for me, I am sure that we may eat any kind of food. God does not think that any food is dirty. The Lord Jesus has shown me that that is true. But someone else may believe that it is wrong to eat certain food. For that person, it would be wrong to eat that kind of food.
15 You should not cause another believer to be sad because of what you eat. If you do make him sad, then you are not really loving him. Remember that Christ died on behalf of that person. So, do not let your food make him turn away from God. 16 You may think that something is good. But still you should not do it, if other people will say that it is bad.
17 We belong to God's people and he is our King. The things that we eat and drink are not really important to him. This is important: We should do what is right. We should have peace in our minds. And we should be truly happy. God's Holy Spirit helps us to live like that. 18 If anyone serves Christ in that way, they will make God happy. And other people will respect them.
19 So then, we should try to live in a way that brings peace. We should try to help each other so that we become stronger as God's people. 20 Do not bring trouble to someone because of the food that you eat. Do not destroy what God has done in the life of another believer. God lets us eat all kinds of food. But do not eat anything that will cause another believer to do something wrong. 21 It is good not to do anything that might cause another believer to do something wrong. That includes if you eat meat or if you drink wine.
22 What you believe about these things should be a secret between yourself and God. You should do what you have decided is right for you. Do not feel guilty about what you eat. Then God will bless you. 23 But someone else may not be sure whether it is right to eat certain kinds of food. If that person does eat that kind of food, then he shows that he is guilty. He has not trusted God that it is right for him to do that. Whatever things we do, we must trust God about them. If we do not trust God that something is right, then it is a sin.