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Eggshells 4

May 1, 2007

eggshells-shoe.jpg

I believe that we are part of a church that has purposely created a culture that allows you to be yourself.  That doesn’t just happen.  It has to be thought about and said.  People have to be given permission.  Come and your burned out “doing”, then you can just rest.    Want to work but your ideas keep getting met with “that will never work”, go ahead we will help you however we can.

I think that is how healthy families operate.

Below is Romans 14 from The Message.   I am not saying that you should run roughshod over the conscience of others.  But those that use this passage to stop change or to unwelcome those that think differently are missing the point I believe.  Someone (a leader) needs to step up and say “Enough”  we are going to accept each other.  Everyone is welcome unless you don’t want to accept others.

I am tired feeling the need to call this a paraphrase.  All translations require an approach.  This was not word by word translated but it is a translation.  So tell me what you disagree with in this translation.

1Welcome with open arms fellow believers who don’t see things the way you do. And don’t jump all over them every time they do or say something you don’t agree with–even when it seems that they are strong on opinions but weak in the faith department. Remember, they have their own history to deal with. Treat them gently.

2For instance, a person who has been around for a while might well be convinced that he can eat anything on the table, while another, with a different background, might assume all Christians should be vegetarians and eat accordingly. 3But since both are guests at Christ’s table, wouldn’t it be terribly rude if they fell to criticizing what the other ate or didn’t eat? God, after all, invited them both to the table. 4Do you have any business crossing people off the guest list or interfering with God’s welcome? If there are corrections to be made or manners to be learned, God can handle that without your help.

5Or, say, one person thinks that some days should be set aside as holy and another thinks that each day is pretty much like any other. There are good reasons either way. So, each person is free to follow the convictions of conscience.

6What’s important in all this is that if you keep a holy day, keep it for God’s sake; if you eat meat, eat it to the glory of God and thank God for prime rib; if you’re a vegetarian, eat vegetables to the glory of God and thank God for broccoli. 7None of us are permitted to insist on our own way in these matters. 8It’s God we are answerable to–all the way from life to death and everything in between–not each other. 9That’s why Jesus lived and died and then lived again: so that he could be our Master across the entire range of life and death, and free us from the petty tyrannies of each other.

10So where does that leave you when you criticize a brother? And where does that leave you when you condescend to a sister? I’d say it leaves you looking pretty silly–or worse. Eventually, we’re all going to end up kneeling side by side in the place of judgment, facing God. Your critical and condescending ways aren’t going to improve your position there one bit. 11Read it for yourself in Scripture:

“As I live and breathe,” God says,
“every knee will bow before me;
Every tongue will tell the honest truth
that I and only I am God.”

12So tend to your knitting. You’ve got your hands full just taking care of your own life before God.

13Forget about deciding what’s right for each other. Here’s what you need to be concerned about: that you don’t get in the way of someone else, making life more difficult than it already is. 14I’m convinced–Jesus convinced me!-that everything as it is in itself is holy. We, of course, by the way we treat it or talk about it, can contaminate it.

15If you confuse others by making a big issue over what they eat or don’t eat, you’re no longer a companion with them in love, are you? These, remember, are persons for whom Christ died. Would you risk sending them to hell over an item in their diet? 16Don’t you dare let a piece of God-blessed food become an occasion of soul-poisoning!

17God’s kingdom isn’t a matter of what you put in your stomach, for goodness’ sake. It’s what God does with your life as he sets it right, puts it together, and completes it with joy. 18Your task is to single-mindedly serve Christ. Do that and you’ll kill two birds with one stone: pleasing the God above you and proving your worth to the people around you.

19So let’s agree to use all our energy in getting along with each other. Help others with encouraging words; 20don’t drag them down by finding fault. You’re certainly not going to permit an argument over what is served or not served at supper to wreck God’s work among you, are you? I said it before and I’ll say it again: All food is good, but it can turn bad if you use it badly, if you use it to trip others up and send them sprawling. 21When you sit down to a meal, your primary concern should not be to feed your own face but to share the life of Jesus. So be sensitive and courteous to the others who are eating. Don’t eat or say or do things that might interfere with the free exchange of love.

22Cultivate your own relationship with God, but don’t impose it on others. You’re fortunate if your behavior and your belief are coherent. 23But if you’re not sure, if you notice that you are acting in ways inconsistent with what you believe–some days trying to impose your opinions on others, other days just trying to please them–then you know that you’re out of line. If the way you live isn’t consistent with what you believe, then it’s wrong.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. biblicalchristian permalink
    May 1, 2007 11:56 am

    I haven’t scoped out your blog enough to know where you stand, so I hope I don’t offend. But here I go…

    Someone (a leader) needs to step up and say “Enough” we are going to accept each other. Everyone is welcome unless you don’t want to accept others.

    It depends completely on what you are accepting. A devout Catholic will not accept the doctrine of Sola Scriptura. A devout Bible Christian will not accept the doctrine of purgatory. Pushing aside who’s right and who’s wrong here, when it comes to doctrine, some things are not acceptable.

    (I’m really not a stiff-necked Reformer who rants endlessly about Catholics, by the way. My recent posts are an outlet for a personal situation.)

    Now, if we are talking about whether you should wear blue jeans in the sanctuary or not, or whether pork is unclean or clean, then I think Romans 14 is applicable. Be

    As far as The Message goes, I think it can be a very slippery slope for those who have a weak theology. When I read Romans 14 from The Message my mind immediately goes to the “We Are the World” group hug that the politically correct crowd still chants. JMHO.

    On an aside: Love the baseball pics. We have three baseballers in our house. Tis the season, isn’t it? Love it.

    Also, I just finished “The Good Earth”. What do you think so far, or have you already finished it?

  2. May 1, 2007 2:23 pm

    I stopped at “So, each person is free to follow the convictions of conscience.” Um, not always a good idea. Depends on what we’re talking about. I think that puts too much emphasis on what I think is right, as opposed to what IS right. I think personal preferences are OK as long as they don’t go against the Commandments & all that. Sorry – I didn’t read the rest.

  3. paul permalink
    May 2, 2007 5:18 am

    Unconditional love allows us to value the relationship over the opinion. It doesn’t matter if you agree with me or not…I will still love you. Nothing you say or do will change the relationship.

  4. May 2, 2007 9:53 am

    Now you know why.

    One man’s opinion is another’s command, one person’s scripture is another’s tradition of man.

    I’m not sure this is something you can really teach someone, you have to live it out and that can be hard in the context of people who don’t think that way. What I mean is most people have been conditioned to figure out was is acceptable and not acceptable, which is essential or someone will call Jesus just a good teacher, but we tend to have no bearing on is that the early church already set the essentials and Paul is relating to them.

    Throw in the fact that in Romans 14 Paul seems to be saying let bygones be bygones, don’t judge/look down, while in Corinthians he seems to be saying people stop eating that meat because people are stumbling and then in Colossians he trashes people who are making eating an issue. He tells them these rules sound good but do nothing to make you more like Jesus. Take your pick depending on what you think should be true.

    I guess Paul didn’t understand that rationalists thousands of years later who wanted to create theology from his writings would need something more cut and dry. I’m sure he would have tidied up his letters if only he new he wasn’t writing them for individual situations but instead for a comprehensive book of theology. Depending on what you want to do you will call the part that supports it theology don’t you think?

    The church has always had to deal with heresy and it seems that people think that making every scriptural concept theology will stop that from happening. If Paul’s words could be abused, go on sinning so grace abounds, if the early church had to deal with Gnosticism, and they had the very best teachers and understanding, why do we think we can set up a system that will avoid such problems?

    Sorry, to your original thoughts that is the very thing we at our fellowship are trying to build and let me tell you some come and don’t get it at all because it just isn’t right, you have to have a rapture theology or else…

  5. May 2, 2007 2:48 pm

    To me, the whole meat issue goes back to Acts 15 and a council of (Jewish) elders and apostles who started legislating what’s acceptable for Gentile Christians to do.

    Probably not a good idea, but it might have turned out better if they had started with prayer and fasting and asking God what His thoughts were on the subject. Sending a letter with the new law in it was probably not as effective as actually going out in the field to see what it’s like out there. And the word “seemed” as in “seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us” is not as conclusive as it could have been.

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