Tag Archives: Romans 14

Judges, Grudges and Smudges – A Merrier Christmas for the Church

pigs-with-purpose

I read that headline and thought… “Wow Shari, that ain’t very Christmassy!” And it’s not, but it is real. And I like being real so long as it doesn’t take me to a dark place that leaves me and everyone else feeling worse than when we began. I love encouraging people. But I also feel that there are times when we need to take a look within and ‘clean the house before company comes,’ just like we do during the Holidays.

Holidays are a time that many families put aside petty differences for the sake of the season and bury the hatchet in the holiday ham rather than their brother in law’s head. But what about the church? Believe me when I tell you that I had to do a little holiday cleaning there myself this week. So it brought me to this blog to perhaps help myself and hopefully a few others understanding the spiritual impact of judges, grudges and smudges in the church.

These three culprits undermine the work of the Lord every day in churches across the land.

The Judges

Romans 14:10-13

But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God. Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way.

Judging is so easy and it sneaks up on you before you even know it!

  • Did you see what she wore…
  • Did you hear they said…
  • Do you know what they did…

I wonder if you didn’t have an image of someone’s face run through your mind as you read the bullet points. I did. Doggone it, why is that? Because we’re human and the flesh will rise again and again. But it’s our job to put it back in it’s place. And that place is yielded to the Holy Spirit. The scriptures says that we’re to give an “account of himself to God.” Not tattle to God and every one else in the congregation about what little sister seatsaver did that you thought was offensive. What is it that you’ve done that you need the mercy of God for.

The Grudges

Romans 14:14-18

I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean.  But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died. Let not then your good be evil spoken of: For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men.

So what if they eat pork. That comment goes a lot deeper. It says so what if they’re opinion differs from yours. So they didn’t vote like you do. Dress like you do. Eat like you do. If you’re vocal about your Christianity then you better know what the word says about it. God had said that eating the meats that had once been forbidden for the Jews was now okay. But some couldn’t get past the traditions of the law. And Paul said if it causes them to stumble and have evil thoughts, I just won’t eat it in front of them. Better that than cause an argument. For me this brought to mind a political ideal that when it comes to Christmas dinner, it might be better just to eat the fish than cause someone to eat crow. Leave the election out of holiday conversation.

The Smudges

Romans 19-23

Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another. For meat destroy not the work of God. All things indeed are pure; but it is evil for that man who eateth with offence. It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.  Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth. And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.

Paul’s asking the Romans. Are you a Christian only before God, and not before others? If in tearing someone apart for what they believe in you destroy your relationship with them and your impact for Christ, what have you gotten accomplished for the good of the Kingdom? Everyone sins. Everyone has need of mercy and grace. It shouldn’t just be at Christmas but it sure wouldn’t hurt to keep that in mind at Christmas dinners.

It’s Time to Tell Them

chick tell them

My Dad ran for office on a local level when I was in early elementary school. My quiet, humble father was in politics. It meant very little to me until my 18th year and I was allowed to vote for the very first time, which also happened to be a year that my father was up for re-election. That year it mattered. For the first time I witnessed the ugly side of politics, and it is was very ugly. And yet my quiet, humble father refused to say anything. Every lie that was published I would protest and ask my dad to protest and he’d just smile with that steadfast grin of his and say, “If they know me, they know the truth.” And I’d fume! Why on earth would he say nothing? The answer was as simple as the grin on his face, because my Dad read and understood the truth, grace and predestinate God. No, I’m not saying we are predestinated for salvation; that is a personal decision God expects everyone to make, nobody is destined for Hell by God’s design. But, if God desires a man or a woman to be in office, you better believe He has the power to make it happen. Does He desire every man or woman currently in office to be in that position… Nope. I believe He lets us have what we ask for. Even if it’s stupid…and then sometimes He spares us because there is a predestinated event that God’s plan requires. I think we’re seeing that plan play out.

This morning as I read a few “political” posts my heart sunk and my stomach rolled over, and then I thought about my Dad’s statement, “If they know me, they know the truth.” So I turned that statement back to myself: Because I know Him, I know the truth. The political rhetoric of the day has no effect on the truth. They can stand flatfooted and lie to the American public, they can stand flatfooted and side against God in all the arrogance and disdain for His Word, and it doesn’t change one Word of it. Hallelujah!!! God knows the end, we do not.

But for Christians to sit on their hind parts and do nothing because we feel overwhelmed, outnumbered and unheard is as idiotic as Hillary Clinton saying that we need to empathize with those who seek to destroy us. If by empathize (understand and identify with them) she means, we should desire that they be destroyed too, then okay. I empathize with them. Would I love to see the world saved, Yes Amen! But that’s not reality. And it’s certainly not God’s intention for us to allow the name of Christ to be taken in vain by the leadership of our country and to watch as they side with the enemies of God.

Forever and a day I’ve felt disconnected from American political decisions. Locally, I feel I have a voice but nationally not so much.  And yet here I am with my very own platform on the World Wide Web and although it still has limited reach, it has a reach. I am without excuse to say that I don’t have a voice, and if you’re reading this, so are you. You have a voice.

The very reason we have the wicked in power in America that we do is because we’ve allowed it. I don’t understand how a man got elected to whom everyone I meet says that it wasn’t their vote that got him elected. I’ve heard enough supporters of him to know he had more than a few votes. So what I’m inclined to believe is that those who had the power and the desire to see him voted out… didn’t vote. Praise God I was not one of them… but I’m just as guilty.

I have not voiced my opinion loud enough because I didn’t want to deal with the political fallout. Well, look what that theory got me. I love my Dad’s laid back attitude. It was needful for me to see that God has this world in control even when it’s out of control. But from my Dad’s vantage point now, in the presence of God, perhaps he would say. You know the truth Shari, but they don’t… SO TELL THEM.

Romans 14:12

So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.