Romans 14 - what exactly is our obligation to leading others to the truth?


So, as far as I can see, we have an obligation, of some sort, to not take actions that might lead others away from the truth. But I’m not entirely sure how this applies in practice or where the limits are.

For an example: I have very short hair. I also am familiar with people who think short hair is patently unBiblical. I know that to these people, my ability to talk about Catholicism is going to be compromised, because to their minds I am obviously disregarding the Bible. Should I therefore grow my hair out so I can talk to these people? If not, why not?


Leading someone away from the truth is not the same as being open to guiding someone if they are seeking truth. We are not culpable for those who are not open to understanding. However we are responsible for those we lead astray.



It is what we BELIEVE about our length of hair
that is the question here, if you think that it is
an obstacle, then to YOU it is a sin, whatever is
not of Faith is sin(Rom. 14:23).


To be fair, some of us can have our doubts about any and every course of action we could possibly take! :smiley:

But more to the point - it seems obviously wrong to me that, say, I should grow my hair, put away my pants, change my field of study and seek a marriage out, simply because my failing to do any of those things could lead some people away from the truth. But I am not sure exactly what reasoning is behind my sense of saying that.


Even sinners can preach truth. Do what I tell you , not what I do. Jesus made that clear about those sitting on Moses seat.

However, the hypocrisy may hinder your effectiveness. It is difficult to lead by example if one is engaged in scandalous activities. Your scandalous activities may lead others astray because you didn’t communicate clearly to your followers that you are not a good candidate to emulate. If one wants to go public, then one shouldn’t bring scandal to the faith by misbehaving in public. No one is sinless. As in 1 Cor 8:3-16, if that behavior causes a fellow brother to stumble, that behavior should be curtailed. Hence such behavior could be privately done if it is necessary, e.g. don’t waste good food offered to idols.

Similarly for sins. We will sin, no doubt. But keep it hidden/quiet so that our weakness is not a mouthpiece of our faith teachings. There are some shameless that trumpets/openly conduct their misdeeds while claiming that it is not their fault when weaker members emulate their behavior, hiding behind “I didn’t ask them to”.

Hair is no big deal, it is a cultural/fashion thing. A wig can bring temporary solution. In certain countries, it may be prudent to veil or cover up certain body parts because unnecessary exposure may cause offense to people that you are trying to reach. Typically they cover up when in public but let it go when with their own groups privately. It is pointless to insist on personal rights when another society or groups have certain norms that don’t subscribe to your personal views. When in Rome…


I mentioned hair because it’s something that both seems pretty innocuous in and of itself - there’s no real good or bad about short or long hair - and because it’s a fairly public thing. So it’s not generally a matter of something you can do only in the privacy of your own home. It should be noted I am thinking of a u.s. context here, where short hair is normal in wider society but not accepted by certain groups (including the one I grew up in).

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