|And, sometimes, it’s worth keeping it to yourself.|
We have these varying beliefs about life, and the things we think are important.
Some people are conservative and some people are liberal, some are vegetarians, others are unapologetic carnivores, some like chocolate chips, others like raisin oatmeal coo…
No, that’s too far, those particular people are probably not even saved… Raisins… Anyway, my point is: we’re an eclectic bunch with a variety of thoughts on various matters. (I mean, who thinks that’s an acceptable alternative to chocolate?) And variety among believers is totally acceptable. It’s part of what makes us unique parts of the same body. I’m not a cookie-cutter Christian kind of guy. (…They look so much like chocolate chips before you bite into them. It’s why I have trust issues!) But, despite your differing ideas, if you follow Jesus, you follow Jesus first and foremost.
PUTTING OUR RIGHTS IN OUR BACK POCKET
We just don’t adhere to it.
Here, Paul is finding common ground with unbelievers, suppressing his rights so as not to put anything in the way of the Message of Hope. I don’t think that sits well with us sometimes.We well remember that we’re supposed to tell the world about Jesus, but we are real jackholes about it. And, as someone has said, the truth without love ceases to be the truth.
Jesus himself said that the greatest commandment, the one that he said sums up all of the Law and everything the Prophets said was to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind,” (Mt 22:37, NLT) and that the second commandment was similar, in that we are to love our neighbor as ourselves. So if love is the theme in being a Christian, sharing the Good News in love always means that others souls are more important than us or our opinions.
THIS MIGHT BE HARD TO HEAR…
…I know a lot of you just made a scrunchy face and said, “What?” out loud, but if you believe something to the contrary, you—like me for many years—were living bad teaching. Stick with me here. It’s as simple as one verse in one chapter:
1 Corinthians 5. In this chapter, the writer is clearing up a miscommunication with the church in Corinth. He starts off by saying that he’d told them not to associate with immoral people. That’s where most of us stop. Apparently, so did the Corinthians. But he goes on to explain he didn’t mean all immoral people. We’d have to leave the planet if that were the case. He meant immoral Christians. Then, he says IT in verse 12. “For what have I to do with judging outsiders?” That’s God’s job, he says.
I thought, “You mean, I don’t have to be the world’s mother? I don’t have to feel bad if I’m not stuffing morality down their throats?” I was flabbergasted, and then I realized something. I realized what my job is as a Christian—to love my neighbor as myself (Mk 12:31).
IT’S REALLY, REALLY GOOD NEWS
Maybe they will never become Christians.
That’s sad, but that needs to be okay. Because that’s not your job either. Living for God, bearing the fruit of the Spirit, and always being ready to give an answer for the Hope that you have. That’s your job. And they will ask.
Winning an argument is never more important than a person’s immortal soul.