Do Not Pass Judgment on One Another
He says a few times that you shouldn't judge each other. Another person's relationship with God is his business and you shouldn't judge them for it. If 2 people have opposite ideas and do opposite things, they are both still doing it in honor of the lord.
This is clearly a good message, don't judge each other. Unfortunately, it is a very difficult command to follow, we judge each other all the time. Although I guess there is a big difference between a reflex judgement of another person and actually doing something about it. If the ideas in this verse were to keep someone from acting on their judgmental gut reactions that would be great.
Do Not Cause Another to Stumble
The title of this section, and what the general theme seems to be is really good. The idea of "don't cause another to stumble" sounds really good, don't cause someone else problems with your actions. I like that.
However, the delivery of this section has me a bit baffled. The language is all centered around food. Example: v20 "Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God." and v15 "If your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love."
Sometimes the ability to eat is used as a metaphor for wealth in general, for example "someone's gotta put food on this table". So perhaps this section is using food in this way. If that is the case, the above verses I mentioned make sense "Do not, for the sake of [wealth], destroy the work of God". "If your brother is grieved by [how you make a living], you are no longer walking in love." This makes sense to me I think the section holds together viewed from this prism. Does this sound reasonable to anyone else? Is there another way to look at this that also makes sense?
There is one other thing in this section that caught my eye.
v14 nothing is unclean by itself, but if you think it is unclean it is unclean for you
This seems totally crazy to me, basically, anything goes as long as you think it is correct, however, if you suspect something is bad then it is for you. This seems to have some far reaching implications. For example, shouldn't most gay people be fine? As long as they don't see what they are doing as wrong, it isn't wrong. According to this verse, gay sex is not unclean by itself, however, if you think it is unclean, then it is for you. Blasphemy against the lord should be okay for me, I don't think God exists, therefore I don't see calling him names as "unclean" so for me it is fine. Obviously I have taken something out of context or misunderstood something. I'd be curious to see how a christian would explain this verse.