Love is the overarching principle in matters of conscience and all things in body life (Rom. 13:8-10), so if love is neglected, souls can be destroyed. More specifically, our goal can never be to get someone to push past their conscience, even if we seek to lovingly inform another’s conscience, because if we instruct others to haphazardly push past one’s God-given alarm system, we are convincing that person to sin and destroying the work of God and one for whom Christ died (Rom. 14:13-21). In the end, it is very dangerous to be strongly expressing our opinions publicly, especially with little to no regard for others. In fact, it’s very natural to promote one’s opinions in order to coddle our own comforts and mitigate against our fears. It’s very natural to look down on others who think differently. It’s very natural to make demands like that sound like this: “You must live like me if you are to love me” or “You must get over yourself and get freed up like me.”
But I ask: Is the church a natural entity—something formed according to the will of man? OR is it created and formed and brought together by the Risen Lord, who sits at the Father’s right hand? That’s important to review, but regardless of where one lands on the spectrum of decision making, everyone is fully accountable to Christ’s teachings. There’s never a legitimate excuse to neglect what God commands, so if someone is a little more cautious, then it should still be obvious that person cares about the body and desires to honor Christ. If someone is more freed up, that person too, is accountable to Christ’s teachings, which include not judging or showing disdain for those of a weaker conscience (Rom. 14:1). For anyone to refuse to obey Christ is an indicator that idolatry is present, since there is something that is causing one to abstain from following the commands of Christ in some way—whether that is fear flowing from the idol of comfort or whether that is pride flowing from the idol of self-righteousness.
We will all stand before the judgment seat of Christ to be assessed for how we lived and how we treated others (Rom. 14:10-12). That should humble us and taper the promotion of our opinions greatly.