Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Why Can't We All Just Get Along?!

I love Facebook. It's sort of my window to the outside world. You can see just about anything go on out there in cyberspace just by logging on. Yes, from this you might discern I don't get out much.

Recently, I followed several posts as they asked for opinions or directions on how to handle a couple of somewhat itchy matters, that people can have some strong opinions on. The person had an honest interest in knowing how to best follow their conviction, while also living at peace with all men. You'd hope there could be a simple answer.

Sometimes that's not so easy. You see, everyone has an opinion. Everyone seems to like their opinion. (Go figure) And it seems it is a rare person who feels strongly on a matter that doesn't think you shouldn't be persuaded to do 'it' the *right* way.

(* their way)

Opps, did I really say that?! <gasp>.

I saw this happen on this post, and it stayed respectful. But it got me to thinking about how many times I had seen it before. I've seen it get nasty sometimes.  Nice christian ladies, having a fit online, saying things we'd never say to each other's faces.

We are able to find a verse that allows, with it's interpretation, a 'scriptural basis', a support for most of our issues; and yet, sometimes even with the same scripture, we can still fall on both sides of the coin with our opinion on a certain issue.

 It seems that there are many matters where the answer isn't clear cut; it's disputable.

Now, I am not my husband (the walking concordance) so I confess I had to go to http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=romans%2014&version=NIV to do a look up, cause I was certain that there was something in there about 'disputable matters'.

Here's what I found. I think it speaks beautifully to the issue, even though the topic is different, the heart remains the same:

Romans 14
Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. 2 One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. 3 The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them. 4 Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand.

5 One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind. 6 Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord. Whoever eats meat does so to the Lord, for they give thanks to God; and whoever abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. 7 For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. 8 If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. 9 For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.

10 You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister[a]? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. 11 It is written:
“‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord,
‘every knee will bow before me;
every tongue will acknowledge God.’”[b]

12 So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.

13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. 14 I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean. 15 If your brother or sister is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy someone for whom Christ died. 16 Therefore do not let what you know is good be spoken of as evil. 17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, 18 because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval.

19 Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. 20 Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a person to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. 21 It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother or sister to fall.

22 So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who does not condemn himself by what he approves. 23 But whoever has doubts is condemned if they eat, because their eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.[c]

It's so easy to get lost in the large passage, so the take away for me is 'to refrain from quarrelling over disputable matters' with those of our faith, (even if the other party is interested in quarrelling); to refrain from judging the other person's position because it *is* a disputable matter, since we leave that to God (who is capable to judge His own servants); don't treat each other with contempt; to fully choose not to put a stumbling block in another person's way causing them to fall; to act in love and act according to mutual peace and edification, and to keep these issues between ourselves and God. Most importantly, we act according to our faith on the matter, lest we sin.

I've been mulling it over ever since it occurred to me.
Would we recognize our role in how these disputable matters play out in real life?
Or maybe, just maybe , we've seen these differences in disputable matters before, in our personal relationships. A fellow christian does things a little differently, and we distance ourselves from them. Perhaps we inwardly criticize them. Perhaps we don't keep our opinions to ourselves, and we talk to someone else about it, behind their back.  Perhaps we go right up to them and try to 'educate' them on how to do 'it' *right* .Would we recognize in ourselves when we step over the line? Do we follow our biblical model?

There's not much left to argue with when you look at it like that.

When you think of it that way, it  just could be life changing to apply that *one* portion of scripture.
Can you imagine the quality of our relationships getting better? The focus on God's work we can achieve when not divided and distracted?  The lives that can be changed because we draw people to us when we don't fight amonsgt ourselves?

Let us not waste our time being divided from one another.
We've got so many other important things to do.

1 comment:

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