When you fall – others fall
For reading & meditation: Romans 14:5-13
“For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone.” (v.7)
It seems almost unbelievable that the thing which stopped the psalmist’s feet from slipping and sliding was not the awareness of his relationship with God but the awareness of his relationship with his brothers and sisters. It might not have been the highest spiritual principle he could have held on to, but it saved him from disaster. It is this matter – our relationship with one another – that Paul is speaking about in today’s passage. You will be familiar, I am sure, with the passages in 1 Corinthians 8 and 10 where Paul enlarges on this subject and where, in a remarkable statement, he says: “I mean for the sake of his conscience, not yours, do not eat it. For why should another man’s scruples apply to me, and my liberty of action be determined by his conscience?’ (1 Cor. 10:29
, Amplified Bible
). He is saying, in other words, that you might see no need to refrain from eating meat offered to idols for your own sake, because your conscience is not offended, but what about your weaker brother for whom Christ also died? You see, “none of us lives to himself alone”, so when next the devil tries to convince you that you are an isolated case and that what he is suggesting concerns you and you alone, quote this verse to him. We do not act in isolation; if you fall, you do not fall alone, the whole Church falls also. If nothing else can stop you from doing wrong, remember the people to whom you belong, remember you are part of a heavenly family, and that when you fall, others fall with you.
Father, drive deeply into my spirit this truth that I cannot act in isolation, for I am bound up with my redeemed brothers and sisters. Help me experience an ever-growing consciousness of this important fact. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
For further study:
1. What was Paul’s approach to the weaker brethren?
2. What was Paul’s word to the Thessalonians?