In his book Illustrations of Bible Truth, H. A. Ironside tells about a man who was getting ready to attend a banquet. He wanted to put on a white shirt he had worn on a previous occasion, so he was inspecting it carefully to see if it was too dirty. His wife noticed what he was doing and called out, “Remember, dear, if it’s doubtful, don’t.” The issue was settled. The man threw the shirt into the laundry hamper.
That wife’s advice reminds me of the principle in today’s text. It’s a principle that can be applied to questionable matters of conscience. If doubtful, don’t.
The doubtful things the apostle Paul wrote about in Romans 14 had to do with meat and wine considered to be “unclean” by some but not by others (vv.14,21). He indicated that if we have doubts about whether an action is right or wrong and we do it anyway, our action is not from faith and is therefore a sin (v.23). He also pointed out that it is wrong to do anything by which a brother in Christ “stumbles or is offended or is made weak” (v.21). We must never give another Christian a reason to violate his or her conscience.
When faced with questionable practices and a troubled conscience, we would do well to make this our guideline: If it’s doubtful, don’t!
There is a treasure you can own
That's greater than a crown or throne;
This treasure is a conscience clear
That brings the sweetest peace and cheer. —Isenhour
One little word can spare us a lot of trouble. It's NO.