I have a personal history of being pretty dogmatic and opinionated. I can give firsthand testimony it can hurt a lot of the people I care a lot about – just like happened between friends in the church in Rome (Romans 14). They had strong personal convictions about what we tend to call “gray” areas.
For the church members in Rome, it was can I eat meat or must I do as you say and only eat vegetables. Is the way you apply sabbath principles the only right way? And what about the freedom to drink wine? Is that right or wrong? Is there a possibility it could be both? These were the issues dividing the church in Rome and which made it a very unsafe place. You were sure to be judged on something.
If you are just joining this blog, you will want to look at the last four posts where we have looked at each of these issues and how the gospel can make a place of differing opinions a very welcoming and safe place.
Because of my propensity to be like the believers in the Roman church, I have written these five guidelines in the margin of my Bible next to Romans 14. I want the gospel to make me a safe and welcoming person.
- Is the other person fully convinced in their mind they are honoring Christ and submitting to his Lordship? (Romans 14:5,9) Then I will affirm and honor their heart to follow Jesus.
- My love never disregards those with a weak conscience. (Romans 15:1)
- My love limits my own freedom. (Romans 15:1)
- My question cannot be “How can I enjoy my freedom,” but rather “what makes for the growth of my brother/sister?” (Romans 14:19)
- Love creates a difference between my private convictions and my public behavior…but both must be aligned with the gospel. (Romans 15:1-3)
I’m curious. What do you think?
COMING SOON: I have just received permission from Baker Publishing House to pass on to all of you who have subscribed to this blog by joining the Laying it Down community, an awesome whole chapter excerpt from a great book by an incredible author. I am committed to not passing on anything that I consider does not rank a nine or a ten. You won’t be disappointed and I’m positive it will minister to you. Because the truth in this chapter is so significant, it is why I went to the effort to get written permission from the publisher.
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