“Don’t Make Your Brother Stumble” (Romans 15: 2, HCSB) by Carley Evans


If your sister or brother is weak, then you — who may be stronger — must not please yourself. Instead, you must set aside your desire to please yourself and “bear the weaknesses of those without strength.” (Romans 15: 1) You are to “please [your] neighbor for his good to build him up.”
Essentially, Paul is reminding us that even if we have faith to do a particular act, if our sister in Christ finds that act questionable or sinful, we must set aside our own conviction for a greater obligation. That obligation is not to offend our weaker sister, but to please her. When we set aside our desire in order to please our neighbor, then we build up the body of Christ rather than tear it down. We please the Lord by submitting ourselves to one another. Paul says, “Do not tear down God’s work because” an act you find “clean” “makes your brother stumble.” (Romans 14: 20, 21)

Of course, whatever you do should come from conviction — conviction which Paul strongly suggests you keep between yourself and God. Paul only warns that “everything that is not from a conviction is sin.” (Romans 14: 23) Do not doubt; have faith. Know that what you approve emerges from firm and unwavering conviction. Nevertheless, do not destroy your brother or sister’s faith because you are unwilling to set aside your conviction that you are allowed to act in a certain way.

Do not promote your freedom in Christ in a way that destroys your sister in Christ.