Legalism or Love

Romans 14

"Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. 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. 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.

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. 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. For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. 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. For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.

You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. It is written:

“‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.’”

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

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. 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. 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. Therefore do not let what you know is good be spoken of as evil. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval.

Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. 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. It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother or sister to fall.

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. 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."

I'm preaching to myself here in this post. We're living in such a strange world these days. Pandemics, riots, racism in all directions, cancel culture, vaccines, anti-vaxxers, masks, and people fighting against them, politics, stolen elections, and people attacking Israel. These are just a few of the hot topics right now.

I've been so convicted. In the midst of all of these things happening, and me fighting for what I believe is right, there's been tragedy. One was that a friend lost her newborn son and the other was that an old friend lost her life.

And then I see this anger and fight rise up in me and I'm suddenly battling people for things I believe are the way they should act. In fact, I'm battling so hard that I'm in an argument with a pastor at my church over things that don't even matter. You know why?

Jesus loves everyone. He died for everyone. He didn't only die for Trump voting, anti-vaccine, no mask wearing people. He didn't only die for Biden voting, vaccinated, mask wearing people. I need to stop. I have been fighting so hard for my way of thinking that I've lost track of Jesus in the mess of it. I don't want to diminish His sacrifice with my legalism. That's so Pharisitical. Jesus died for all of us. Okay, you don't agree with me. That does frustrate me for sure and I may try to convince you to agree with me, but it doesn't change the fact that Jesus loves you. I'm sorry for the way I've behaved towards you, when Jesus died for both of us.

One persons faith lets them get the vaccine, while one persons doesn't. One persons allows them to wear masks, while anothers doesn't. We need to...no. I need to stop fighting over this. Those of you who know me know quite clearly where my convictions land. That being said, I am so sorry for isolating you if your conviction isn't mine. I am so sorry I have judged. The goal is peace and mutual edification and I've failed until now on that, but I am going to do better! Thank you Lord for the conviction!

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