Today I read Romans 14, which I found to be a very interesting chapter. It was all about not judging people for the choices they make and to not be a stumbling block for one another. In particular he was talking about those who eat meat, and those who do not. I think it is very interesting that even back in the days of Christ there were those who did not eat meat and those that did that tried to convince the other side of the error of their ways.
I do not know how it was in the times of the Romans, but in our day, most people will agree with me I think that vast majority of the people that do the arguing these days are those trying to convince the world that we shouldn't eat meat. I don't hear too many rallies where people are eating steaks talking about how wrong the vegetarians of the world are. I'm sure they are out there, but I don't know of any of them. We have talked about this before, how God created animals for the benefit of man, and that includes consuming their flesh on occasion. There is nothing wrong about it, there is nothing bad about eating meat. There is also nothing wrong with those who choose not to eat meat. There is something wrong with those who judge others because of their dietary choices though, and that is Paul's point.
We are all at various points in the Gospel and in life and it is completely unfair to judge others against ourselves. We do not know the situation of others and so we cannot say to ourselves, well I can do it, why can't they? We do not understand what they are going through and what they might be suffering. Isn't the purpose of the Gospel to help others when they need it? To mourn with those that mourn? To help the needy? Why do we judge those who stand in need instead of just help them as they ask for it? Does it make ourselves feel better to judge and convince ourselves that we are better than somebody else? It shouldn't. We should feel better because we are helping those who need our help and helping each other to grow and become more like the Savior.
We are here to learn to be more like Jesus Christ and we are in family units because we cannot do it alone. It is almost impossible to make it back to our Heavenly Father without someone's help. We all need assistance and we all need emotional support from someone else. We all need a hug from time to time and someone to tell us it is going to be ok. That is why babies deserve to be born into families, they deserve a father and a mother and a loving family that are going to help raise them appropriately and teach them the things they need to know. As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints it is our role to uplift people and to help them be better than they currently are. We are to uplift one another and help each other grown, not become yet another stumbling block for our fellow members. That is what Paul is talking about and that is what the Lord expects from us, to help one another grow and become more Christlike. We should not worry about whether or not other members of the Church are following our own interpretation of the scriptures and the commandments.
The Word of Wisdom is a great example. It is purposefully left open to interpretation beyond what is specifically spelled out. This is because what may be harmful to your body may be perfectly ok for my body. The things that are listed in the Word of Wisdom are harmful for everyone no matter who they are. But some people get it into their heads that they shouldn't do this or that and for them, I am sure it is for the best, but that does not mean it is harmful for others do partake of those things. For example, eating meat, just like Paul spoke about. Just because one person has made the choice to eat meat, does not mean that another person is wrong for choosing to eat meat. We are here to help each other progress. Not serve as police for the ward or even the Bishop. As we strive to become more Christlike, we will find it easier to help those in need and not look down upon those who do not live as we do and will find ourselves wanting to lift them up, not condemn them. It's much nicer to help than to judge and condemn in our minds. Until tomorrow.