My friend recounted how she’d pointedly been asked by a fellow believer and colleague which political party she belonged to. His aim in asking the question seemed to be to predict whether he agreed with her on any number of issues currently dividing their community. In an effort to find common ground between them, she simply replied, “Since we’re both believers, I’d rather focus on our unity in Christ.”
People were also divided in Paul’s day, though over different issues. Topics such as what foods were permissible to eat and what days were considered holy brought disagreement among the Christians in Rome. Despite being “fully convinced in their own mind” on whichever position they held, Paul reminds them of their common ground: living for Jesus (Romans 14:5–9). Instead of passing judgment on one another, he encouraged them to “do what leads to peace and to mutual edification” (v. 19).
In an era when many countries, churches, and communities are divided over issues large and small, we can point one another to the unifying truth of Christ’s work on the cross to secure our life with Him eternally. Paul’s reminder that we ought not “destroy the work of God” (v. 20) with our individual positions is as timely today as it was 2,000 years ago. Instead of passing judgment on one another, we can act in love and live in a way that honors our brothers and sisters.