“My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty and Christmas carols.” Steve
While I am sure that most Christians can agree on most principles contained in the New Testament, I am absolutely sure that if each of us digs deep enough into our personal opinions, we would find wide disparities amongst ourselves. Last Christmas, a fellow believer complained to me that I had erected a Christmas Tree in my home. Someone else was disappointed that I enjoyed rock ‘n roll music more than Christmas carols. And, still another said…..!
Well, you get the picture.
There is nothing wrong with opinions. Christians can vote anyway they please. Christians can chose anything they want from the menu of a restaurant. Christian can enjoy skydiving, tightrope walking, Harley Davidsons and even the speeches of Vladimir Putin. In all those areas, we are free to chose and make up our own minds.
The problems emerge when we make our opinions into rules and regulations of the church. While some church rules are sensible and even necessary at some stage in its existence or another, to enforce them as if they were God’s holy writ only alienates believers and causes dissension and even church splits.
And I must learn that my opinion isn’t the only one in the world. And also, that I am slow to anger and quick to forgive.
But this is just my opinion, right?
“Accept the brother who is weak in faith and don’t argue about opinions.” Rom 14:1 (Simple English Bible)
Rob was an elderly man when he became a Christian and was immersed into Christ. It took him awhile to understand the gospel because he wasn’t a quick learner. Rob was a security guard at a shopping mall and near retirement. He was also a heavy smoker.
When he was accepted as a baptized believer into the church, initially he was welcomed. Rob tried to kick his 60-cigarette-a-day habit but it wasn’t easy for him — he’d been smoking ever since he was fourteen! He tried and tried very hard and managed to reduce his habit to less than a pack a day. Then, he was called before the church board and told that he really couldn’t be a Christian because he still smoked. The eldership decided to put Rob “on suspension” until he was “fully saved” and denied evil in his life.
Rob asked me what this meant. He didn’t understand why he wasn’t a “full” Christian any longer. He couldn’t sleep at night, tossing and turning, because he felt so back about trying to quit smoking. I told Rob I didn’t understand what they were talking about either. I encouraged him to enter a program to kick his habit, which he gladly did. The good news was that Rob did quit smoking — it took two years — but he also quit the church he was attending, too.
I often wonder about the attitude of Christians in their relationships with one another. I often wonder if my attitude is right and that I encourage the weaker ones correctly. And I also wonder that if I sin, would someone be as understanding as I need?
Makes you think, huh?
“Continue walking with Christ just as you did when you accept Christ Jesus as Lord.” Col 2:6 (Simple English Bible)
I remember the day I accepted and received Christ as my Lord as I am sure that all of you did, too. It was a day of joy and spiritual happiness. It was a willing choice, not coerced or forced. That experience began our journey and our long walk with Jesus.
We do not experience this same acceptance again. Instead, our joy and spiritual happiness is in the journey, the walk with and in Christ. It is now our intention to walk, live and act as if Christ were right alongside us everyday and in every circumstance.
How else can we enjoy His riches and blessings? How else can we be assured that our daily strife and actions are truly appreciated?
This should not merely be a kind of doctrine for us. We need to pray, “Lord, I want to live and walk in You. Lord, I pray that You will be with me and that every aspect of my living may be in You.”
For some of us, it is a long walk. For others, their journeys are over. Our destination lies ahead. Our joy is His joy.