There are times in my life as a Christian that I must make a similar choice. The world may have a list of things they think a Christian should or shouldn’t do which are not actually spelled out in the scriptures. I may have brothers and sisters in the Lord with the same mistaken ideas. In an ideal world, we are all packaged in bubble wrap—nothing anyone else does effects us. Unfortunately, since Adam and Eve were banned from Eden, the world is no longer ideal.
The Lord never meant for the weak to rule the church, which is what happens when we allow every little “that offends me” to determine the actions of the church. For some reason those people only read half of Romans 14:3: “Let not he who eats [meats sacrificed to idols] set at nought him who does not,” while ignoring, “and let not he who does not, judge him who does, for God has received him.” “Offend” in the older versions means “sin.” Anyone who uses “I’m offended” to get his way must, by definition of the word agree that first, he is sinning, and second, he is a weaker brother according to that passage, Maybe I am being cynical, but it seems to me a lot of people would complain a whole lot less if someone pointed that out to them.
If we all simply refrained from taking part in things we are not comfortable with instead of raising a ruckus every time, the church would, in fact, come much closer to the ideal community Christ gave his life for. Don’t you think that Simon the Zealot and Matthew the publican, two ideologically polar opposites, still had some fundamental differences even after three years of serving the Lord? Yet they put them aside to try and save the world. The problem is that we think our likes and dislikes are more important than the Divine mission we were given by God.
Like those two martyred apostles, I must occasionally make the decision to give up my rights for the sake of someone’s soul. No, I cannot worry about the busybodies who observe my life through a telescope just looking to find a flaw. No matter how hard I try, they will eventually succeed in their task. And no, we must not allow the mission of the church to be set aside for the stubborn few. But the question is, what about the good and honest hearts that I personally may affect for the worst? Driving down my chosen course may be lawful, but is it safe to those around me? A good question to consider as we go through the day.
And when they came to Capernaum, those who received the half-shekel came to Peter and said, Doesn’t your teacher pay the half-shekel? He said, Yes. And when he came into the house, Jesus spoke first to him saying, What do you think, Simon? The kings of the earth, from whom do they receive toll or tribute, from their sons or from strangers? And when he said, From strangers, Jesus said to him, Therefore the sons are free. But lest we cause them to stumble, go to the sea and cast a hook, and take up the fish that first comes up; and when you open his mouth you shall find a shekel. Take that and give unto them for me and you, Luke 17:24-27.
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