Romans 14; 1 Samuel 26; Psalm 69
It is amazing to me that not everyone believes in God the same way I do. It is especially amazing that there are those who claim to be “Christian” but have different beliefs on some things than I do. My beliefs are so perfect, of course, that God checks with me if He has any questions of theology. Is it obvious that I am writing with my tongue firmly planted in my cheek? Followers of Christ have differences in our understanding of the gospel and the ways God works. In Paul’s day, one of the major issues revolved around eating meat – because so much of it was offered to idols. In dealing with the disputes that tended to arise over that issue, Paul wrote these words: “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 approved by men.” (Romans 14:17-18) Now, we tend to condemn each other over things like how and when (and even if) Jesus is returning again. We argue about the right way to perform certain acts of faith – and then what those acts mean. Paul reminds us that rather than fighting over those differences, we need to have a right relationship with God, live at peace with each other, and experience the joy given by the Holy Spirit. That is what pleases God. What one core truth must all followers accept to work together? I believe that when you dig down to the essentials of the faith, you must believe that God sent Jesus to die for our sins and then rise from the dead so that we can have a relationship with Him. If you believe that, no matter how wrong you are, or even perhaps I am, we can work together to bring the good news of Jesus Christ to our world.
Lord God, it’s so easy to get caught up in our beliefs that we overlook the contributions of others who vary in small ways. Let my life and my fellowship with others reflect Paul’s thoughts when he said, “Christ Jesus died to save sinners – among whom I am chief.” Thank You for forgiving me and help me to forgive others.