Paul addresses how each of us honors the Lord in our daily lives. We don’t all choose the same route but we honor the same God. And God welcomes us!
The first instruction Paul gives is very important; “As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions” (verse 1). This sets the stage for the rest of this section. There are those who are weaker and there are those who are stronger in the faith.
The stronger are to welcome the weaker WITHOUT fighting with them or pressuring them to adopt the stronger’s opinions on the way to please God. Paul doesn’t tell us who are the weaker and who are the stronger in his examples. He simply tells both “sides” of the issue to respect and not judge the other.
While reading today I ran smack into the wall because I couldn’t see with “the log in my own eye.” I recognized myself in this section and I didn’t like what I saw. I’m not sure if I have shared this story with you before but I’m going to share it again because it is a perfect example of this issue. I’m also going to be very candid and actually spell out the details of my sin.
I have family members who adheres to the Seventh Day Adventist doctrine. I was not raised in this church but learned from experience that their doctrine instructs them to follow the Law as part of their salvation. I honestly don’t know if they are following it to gain their salvation or as proof of their salvation.
I was raised in the Pentecostal Church of God and they too have very strict beliefs on how a Christian should act. I personally have moved away from this restrictive doctrine into the freedom that I believe Jesus offers to us. My foundation for this is that I believe Jesus’ work was enough and if I try and insist that my works complete my salvation then I’m saying He didn’t do enough or His work wasn’t enough on its own. I do believe in living a life pleasing to Him because of the gift of salvation He purchased for me. It is my way of saying thank You and I love You.
My sin came about when I would “welcome my weaker brothers and sisters” and then try and change them. My first part in this sin was in assuming that I was the stronger on in the comparison. I then compounded that sin with trying to “instruct” my “weaker” brother and sister by sharing my view on what I believed was a “doctrine of works.”
During one of these “liberation attempts” I was forceful enough to drive the very people I was trying to reach from the room. One stayed to continue the debate but my witness was forever ruined. I was judging how others approached God. One of my family members came to agree with me over the years but the other is still adhering to her convictions. I need to apologize to her and ask for her forgiveness.
Paul tells us clearly that God welcomes both the adherent and the non-adherent. If He welcomes them who am I to judge or tell them they need to change? I believe that Paul is sharing here that God is the one who will tell them when/if they need to change. He will do this through His Holy Spirit and I’m CERTAIN He doesn’t need my help in that area.
IF I am asked, I will provide my point of view but no longer will I force feed anyone my opinion. That is honestly something that I have been working very hard on when it comes to this blog. I don’t want my “doctrinal” upbringing to be interpreted as His gospel. I want to share with you what He shares with me. Then I want to hear your thoughts on it; good, bad or indifferent. I want to introduce you to my Father and let Him take it from there.
Father God please forgive me for pushing my beliefs on others, especially my family members. Thank You for showing me myself in Your word today. I was SO convinced that I was “helping” these family members that I didn’t see how I was also harming their relationship with You. Who am I to say how someone comes to You? Help me know when to speak IN LOVE about a true foundational principal (i.e. faith in Jesus) and when to be quiet about things that have no eternal weight (i.e. the day for worship). Give me the right words to undo the damage I have unwittingly caused. I NEVER wanted to hurt my family. And Lord, if it is important, open her eyes to Your truth without me putting my two cents in.