But whoever vacillates is condemned if they eat, because they do not act by faith, and whatever is not of faith is sin. (translation mine)
Most translates read “doubt” where I have translated “ vacillate”. Both are possible. The range of possibilities include “to judge, “to discern”, “to discriminate”, and “to differentiate”. At any rate, this changes slightly the orientation given in the last reflection of the two preceding verses where it says we should not insist when, by faith, we feel some behavior is okay but another fellow believer, also by his or her conviction and faith, believes otherwise.
The above verse raises the other side of the coin, when someone adopts a particular behavior as legitimate or not, but without any conviction, and so is not acting out faith. In this case, the person should not remain in their lack of conviction. We are obligated to help them arrive biblically at some conviction or other.
Part of environmental education falls within this concept. We should know well God’s Word in order to assist others in defining and acting on their convictions with more solid foundations…without forgetting what Paul said previously.
Whatever we do, may we do it in favor of justice, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (v. 17). May we do it with grace and may we do it in unity, trademarks of the work God is doing in our history.
Father, it is so easy to act out of egoism, always wanting to “win”. Free us from this demon of wanting to be superior and wanting to “win” the disputes with other believers in Christ. Grant us the Spirit of Christ Jesus. In His name. Amen.