Getting Along

Read: Romans 14:1-23

So then let us pursue what makes for peace. (v. 19)

An older friend reflected on his life with me over lunch. He observed that the closer he came to death, the more accepting he was of people with whom he disagreed. He had found the sweet spot in his soul where he could hold firm to his convictions and still get along with people who thought differently. In the silence between sentences, there was an implied wonder at how relationships might have been different had he found the sweet spot sooner.

This is Paul’s invitation in Romans 14. As the first Christians navigated life, they differed over things like the kinds of food to eat, the day to worship on, and drinking alcohol. Every generation faces its own dilemmas. Can Christians serve in the military? Can we eat out on Sunday? When is divorce and remarriage permitted? I’m sure you could add to the list.

When it comes to matters that do not deal with the bedrock belief about the resurrection and the lordship of Jesus, Paul wants us to live with the end in mind: “For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God” (v. 10). Therefore, he commands us to “welcome” and “not to quarrel over opinions” (v. 1). Instead, we are to “pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding” (v. 19).

Take time today to reflect. Whom might the Holy Spirit nudge you to welcome and not quarrel with? How might life be different if you lived with the end in mind? —Jon Opgenorth

As you pray, ask God for a welcoming spirit.

About the Author

Rev. Jon Opgenorth serves as president of Words of Hope. Previously, he served for 18 years as senior pastor at Trinity Reformed Church in Orange City, Iowa. In preparation for ministry, he received a BA in Religion from Northwestern College, and an MDiv from Fuller Theological Seminary.