Scripture Reading: Romans 14:1-12
Welcome those who are weak in faith, but not for the purpose of quarrelling over opinions. Some believe in eating anything, while the weak eat only vegetables. Those who eat must not despise those who abstain, and those who abstain must not pass judgment on those who eat; for God has welcomed them. Who are you to pass judgment on servants of another? It is before their own lord that they stand or fall. And they will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make them stand.
Some judge one day to be better than another, while others judge all days to be alike. Let all be fully convinced in their own minds. Those who observe the day, observe it in honor of the Lord. Also those who eat, eat in honor of the Lord, since they give thanks to God; while those who abstain, abstain in honor of the Lord and give thanks to God. –Romans 14:1-6
I guess the reason we have denominations is that “birds of a feather flock together.” People have different ways of addressing the spiritual or for that matter various aspects of life. A problem arises when we think our way of being or doing is the only way and we try to enforce it on others.
Argument arises with the degree of importance some beliefs or practices are related to the authenticity of the faith. Believers baptism vs. infant baptism, immersion vs. sprinkling, communion every Sunday or once a month or once a quarter were each historical areas of fervent discourse. Who indeed are we to pass judgment? Jesus said,
‘Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. For with the judgment you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? Matthew 7:1-3
The problem becomes more pronounced when we try to use our faith as a means of approving bigotry or hate such as we see in racism, ethnic cleansing, or discrimination related to sexual orientation, all human contrivances, each designed to set people apart. In Matthew 25 Jesus outlines the actions by which he will judge us: feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, caring for the sick, restoring those in prison, and welcoming the stranger. All these actions are in direct contradiction to bigotry and hate.
Prayer: God of Love, help us simplify our lives by accepting that you do the judging while we care for all your children in whatever situation we may find them. Amen.