This week's message at church was amazing. It convicted me, while at the same time solidified some truth that has long been in my heart. The pastor that spoke this week, David Martinelli, is one of our lay pastors who also works for Campus Crusade for Christ. The Lord spoke through him in mighty ways and I just wanted to share a little here. The passage we studied this week was Romans 14:1-12.
I was so thankful that David mentioned that the problem Paul was mentioning was addressing the issue of judging the wrong things. He pointed out that as Ephesians 4:15 states, we are to indeed speak the truth in love when a fellow believer is doing something that goes against something God mandates (like Christians dating non-Christians for example). The idea of "judging" is very looked down on in our tolerant society but I do believe there is a time for it among believers.
But he also made sure to distinguish what Paul was referring to in the passage in Romans as to when we are not supposed to judge. As Paul says in verse one, we are not to "quarrel over opinions."
For me this was convicting because I tend to get really passionate about things that friends and family members --fellow believers even-- may have different views on. David gave a few examples of opinions like worship styles, (home)schooling and politics-- I would add things like finances and evironmentalism to the list. The point is that these issues are peripheral, they're "issues of conscience" as our pastor called them. They are not central to the gospel or to salvation, and the Lord can lead people in different ways on these issues.
I know I've personally offended people by expressing (passionately) my opinions on issues that the Lord has convicted me about one way or another. Today I confessed to the Lord and prayed that He would help me to be more delicate when discussing issues of conscience and discerning as to when it is time to speak the truth in love to a brother or sister.
I love how this portion of scripture wraps it up (emphasis mine):
5One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.6The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God.
It is my hope that anything I discuss here on my blog would be done with the same heart. Please know that as much as I love to share things I learn and give you something to think about, I respectfully acknowledge that many of these issues are indeed opinions or issues of conscience. If the Lord has lead you to disagree, that's fine with me. I just pray that we all go to Him earnestly to see how He would lead us.
I encourage anyone whose interest and/or heart is piqued to listen to/download this message.
And to balance out a somewhat serious post, I hope you enjoyed a very not-serious photo.