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In Matters of Taste, There is No Point in Arguing
“Welcome anyone who is weak in faith, but not for disputes over opinions” (Romans 14:1) Thus begins Paul’s teaching on the problem of humanity’s perverted tendencies toward judgement. His argument is that the mind of Christians should no longer judge indiscriminately, or out of emotional excess, for those ways are the product of human thinking, not the ways of God. Paul is challenging his Roman readers tendencies to judge others, which are remarkably like our own ways of judging others today. He uses the example of “those who eat anything” judging “those who only eat vegetables” negatively. Paul exhorts them, and us, saying, “The one who eats must not despise the one who abstains, and the one who abstains must not pass judgment on the one who eats” (verse 3). How many times are we guilty of judging others on such simple things? Too often, if we are honest with ourselves. There is an old Latin proverb that goes like this: “De gustibus, non disputatum est.” This phrase means: “In matters of taste, there is no point in arguing.” This is what Paul is trying to propose to his Roman readers and to us. If someone is coming to the Lord, we should not judge them in light of our own scruples. But, if we are honest with ourselves, most of our negative judgements about others are based on matters of taste. We judge people on the clothes they wear, on where they live, whether they speak our language, and so much more. This is not what Jesus calls us to. Paul says, we are not to judge others who are “weak in faith” on such minor details, for “God has welcomed them.” There is a corresponding phrase in Latin to the one above. It goes like…