Scripture Reading: 1 Corinthians 9:15-23
For though I am free with respect to all, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I might win more of them. To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though I myself am not under the law) so that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law) so that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, so that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, so that I might by any means save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, so that I may share in its blessings. –1 Corinthians 9:19-23
I began my work as a social worker in public service during the turbulent 60’s when our culture was in a state of constant and challenging change. The mini skirt was all the rage but forbidden by our dress code, and when I started, females were not allowed to wear slacks to work. When I became a supervisor, I was required to enforce the dress code. I dealt with both my bosses and staff on the issues it raised. I suggested to my superiors that wearing well-tailored pantsuits might be more acceptable to the public than mini skirts. With my staff, I posited that if the client they were serving was more concerned with the way they dressed than what they were attempting to accomplish, they could not do their job. Wearing a mini skirt while talking with a teenage girl might win a worker points for her dress. Wearing a mini skirt while working with either an older female adult or a teenage boy would be a distraction for very different reasons.
I think this is the point Paul is trying to make in the above scripture. If anything we are doing or not doing is diverting attention from our intentions of doing God’s work, we need to be cognizant of it and make appropriate adjustments to it. When I toured Mosques on my trip to Turkey a few years ago, I wore a scarf and removed my shoes before entering. If we offend someone before we even are introduced, true dialogue will be impossible.
Prayer: Lord, help us prioritize our behavior to reflect your love for the other in all ways. Amen.