Friday, April 17, 2009

When In Rome


"Accept Him whose faith is weak, without passing judgement on disputable matters."

Romans 14:1(NIV)

I love Romans Chapter 14 it is a chapter about acceptance. It's a chapter every christian should read when they first get saved and a chapter every church should read when they first open their doors. It's about acceptance of someone not as strong as you and not judging them on "disputable" matters.

Do you know what that means? It means just becuase it's a "big deal" to you doesn't mean it's a big deal to someone else or God for that matter? Disputable means that there can be some dispute as to whether it's really an issue.

It disturbs me the things that many of us make a test of fellowship with other people or causes us to pass judgement on someone just because they don't believe the way we believe or don't agree with everything that we've been raised, taught, or decided to believe.

Don't misunderstand me, Jesus is the only way to God, the Bible is the inspired word of God, and the church is the Hope of the world and we(christians) are the church. However, there is a difference between disputable matters and non-disputable matters.

Jesus, the Bible, the trinity, and grace are non disputable, but what type of songs you sing in church, what version of the bible you use, whether you think it is ok to drink a glass of wine or never touch the stuff are not salvation issues and never should be used to pass judgement on others.

If you will read Romans Chapter 14, you will understand that some Roman Christians were upset because some christians were eating food that had been sacrificed to idols. The food was sold in the markets, but certain narrow-minded christians thought it horrible that christians would eat this. Paul reminded them, IT'S JUST FOOD!

He also reminds them it's not our place to judge them (vs. 4) and He goes on to remind them that each person has different convictions about certain issues. It's hard for us to swallow sometimes that everything is not black and white and our tastes, preferences, and even convictions aren't the only way.

I don't care if you read out of a King James or NIV. I don't care if you like the Gaithers or Kutless (that's a christian rock band for you out of touch). I don't care if you think the Lottery is an abomination or you buy a ticket on occasion. I don't care if you think Beer is of the devil or you drink socially on occasion and responsibly. I don't care if you are pre or post-millennial. I don't care if you believe in dressing up for church or dressing down, going to church 3 times a week or it's ok to have small group bible studies instead of having a traditional services on sunday or wed.nights.

The bottom line is it really doesn't matter if I care or not. It's between you and God and your faith is your own and it's not my place to judge or condemn you even if you are weaker than me or I don't agree with you or I feel like what you say or do might be a sin for me.

I'm not trying to preach a liberal agenda today. I'm trying to offer the simple fact that what is a struggle for you, might not be a struggle for me. What I see as room for grace you might see as a limit. What I am comfortable doing you might not be comfortable doing. The point is there are things and instances where both are and can be ok. You might not like it, I might not like it, it may not be the way you were raised or taught, but that's the beauty of grace and the freedom we have in Christ.

I encourage you today to go to your bible and Read Romans 14. I challenge you if you are criticial, judgemental, or close-minded about your christianity, beliefs, or faith to realize that maybe your way ISN'T the only way or always right for other people. I encourage you to see God and His freedom are a little bigger sometimes than our narrow mind. The WAY to eternal life is "narrow", but that doesn't mean our faith, attitude, or our acceptance of others should be "narrow".

If you read this today and don't agree with me, you know what? I am ok with that, because I accept you anyway and I would want you to do the same for me even if you aren't comfortable with everthing I said and we don't agree on certain issues.

Understand that God is a big God and He loves us all unconditionally and He wants your praise no matter the style of song you sing, He wants you in His word, not matter whether you like it in new or old english, and he wants your heart not matter the "disputable" matters that convict you.

Go read Romans 14 and share this blog or write your own. Read scripture, study, pray, and ask God to open your eyes, ears, and heart today. Some people will never change and will always strive to make disputable matters non-disputable, but as far as I'm concerned I will always strive to preach God and His acceptance and not myself or my agenda. Just think how different the world would be if we'd all start adopting the attitude of Romans 14? Just a thought?

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