In my experience, debate/ argument is valued by many Christians. Honestly, I used to be included in that group. I loved a good debate, where I made my point (and of course won 😉 ). My desire to be right has diminished in recent years, which I’m sure I can only attribute to God. I still enjoy having challenging conversations about things that are important, but I think I have a stronger value for how the other person feels during the discourse.
A couple weeks ago, I turned on my Bible app’s audible reading option. Because I was busy coloring, I listened to Romans 8 all the way into the next book, 1 Corinthians! It was eye opening to listen to all those passages strung together. (I highly recommend listening to big passages of Scripture read out loud. You get so much out of it!) Anyway, a theme came to my attention. Our actions as believers should be chosen because of our brothers and sisters in Christ.
“Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.” (Romans 12:9-10)
“Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.” (Romans 13:8)
Paul specifically addressed how to live with those who had different convictions on what was okay to eat. Today, this can be applied to diet restrictions or any other kind of restriction a person places on them self because they feel led to. It is made clear that each person will give an account to God and that it’s not the place of any other believer to judge their choices.
“As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions.” (Romans 14:1)
“Therefore let us not pass judgement on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother.” (Romans 14:13)
What a humbling way to live: for others. To make every decision based on how it would effect the people around us seems a little crazy! We have been given the perfect example of this kind of living in Jesus, though. He showed love, sought after others, did not seek to quarrel, and ultimately died for people who didn’t deserve to be loved. We are called to be like Jesus. It takes a whole lot of vulnerability and humility, but it flows from our receiving this very mind-blowing gift ourselves. We’re just passing along a little bit of what we have been given.
So how can you put your brothers and sisters in Christ first this week? And beyond the family of God, how can you show this crazy love to those who don’t know Jesus?