Not everything is “black and white” in the Christian life. There are many “Gray” issues when it comes to walking in the liberty that Christ has purchased for us. What movies should believers watch? What type of clothes should they wear? What should they eat and drink? And we could go on and on. Romans 14:13-23 is one place that addresses those issues, or rather gives us the principles whereby we may evaluate any “gray” issue that may come up. There are a couple of things to keep in mind.
First, if I think something is gray and the word says that it is black and white, then I am wrong and I am sinning to participate in the activity. Even if I am unaware of the prohibition against stealing it is still sinful for me to steal. Often times what Christians call “gray” is really “black and white”. They just do not know their Bibles well enough to recognize it.
Second, on the truly “gray” issues if I “think” it is wrong to do it then it is wrong for me (v.23). It is never safe to go against conscience. If my little Jimminy Cricket is telling me that what I am about to do is a “no no” and I go ahead any way then I have just sinned. I have not acted in “faith”. Now, my conscience may need to be instructed. It may still be weak and not know the degree of Christian liberty like it should. Until it learns the lesson, though, the deed is wrong. It is not until my conscience can say “go for it” can I go for it.
Third, even if the Word does not condemn a certain action, and my conscience does not condemn a certain action the certain action may nevertheless still be sin for me IF by my participation in the action I cause another fellow believer to stumble (v.15-16, 20-22). Grant it, this stumbling brother may need to have his conscience instructed by the word, but until it is I must refrain so as not to cause him to sin. Just as v.7 states, we are all connected. What I do will affect my brothers and sisters.
Finally, the goal in all of actions should be to do that which will build up our brothers and sisters the most (v.19).