We then who are strong ought to bear with the scruples of the weak, and not to please ourselves. 2 Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, leading to edification. 3 For even Christ did not please Himself; but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached You fell on Me.”
Scruples are defined as “an uneasy feeling arising from conscience or principle that tends to hinder action.” Conservative Christians—also conservative Muslims or Buddhists or any conservative religious folks—may have scruples; their conscience bothers them when they do certain things. Some things may be definite sins that we would all agree as being sins, but there are other things that some of us would say are in the grey area, or that it is not a sin at all.
Those with scruples are considered in the Bible as being weaker, and those who are with less scruples as stronger. Those who are stronger feel more free—they have very few rules. Those who are considered weak have many rules and regulations.
If you are one who has very few rules, if you consider yourself to be in the strong group, be glad, thank God. But don’t look down on those who have scruples—because they really can’t help it. It is something that is in their nature. They were taught that way; they were taught to have many rules; it is something that is in their conscience.
We who are strong are to bear with those who are weaker. We are not to look down on them or treat them as ignorant—even though we may think that. Rather, we are to please them, that is, to encourage them and build them up. In all that we do with them and share with them, it should show them that they have value and that God loves them. Indeed, if you boast about your freedom and that you walk in grace, be graceful to them, and kind.
Hopefully, you who are strong will eventually help your weak neighbor—so that they are more free (with less scruples). But I think you may also learn from them: you may see the value of having a few rules. Perhaps you may see from their life that there are some things you have been doing wrong.
In all we do we must continue to do what we feel is right and not do what we feel is wrong. But it is a personal matter and each has his own convictions about things—so each will be accountable to God.
So what are we to do with each other if we feel differently about things? The answer is in Romans 14:19:
Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another.
(Romans 14 and 1 Corinthians 8 will be helpful on this subject.)