Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Worship Wednesday: The Hills We Die On

I find it interesting, in Christianity, the hills we choose to die on.

There's instrumental music (a major issue in the Churches of Christ, where I worship), baking cakes for gay couples, issuing marriage licenses to gay couples, whether or not the earth is young or old, what constitutes "modest" dress . . . and I'm sure, if give enough time, I could fill an entire page front to back with similar issues.

People argue back and forth, bicker, gossip, name call, and--in extreme cases--disfellowship or excommunicate over some of these issues.

There are hills we need to die on in Christiandom . . . but I wonder if, in our desire to defend the positions we hold, we're neglecting the greater matters of Christianity.  I'm reminded of the Scripture in Matthew 23:23, where Jesus says to the Pharisees:  "Woe to you, you teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites!  You give a tenth of your spices--mind, dill and cumin.  But you have neglected the more important matters of the law--justice, mercy and faithfulness.  You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former."

In I Corinthians 8, Paul addresses the question of food sacrificed to idols.  Instead of laying down the law, that "no, you should not", or "yes, you can," he starts first with the concept that "knowledge puffs up while love builds up."  He goes on to explain that an idol was "nothing at all in the world" and that "there is no God but one".

But then he reminds them that some people are "still so accustomed to idols that when they eat sacrificial food they think of it as having been sacrificed to a god, and since their conscience is weak, it is defiled."

Paul says that "food does not bring us near to God . . . be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak."  He ends the chapter with an appeal to the Corinthian Christians to not cause their weak brother or sister to fall into sin.

His emphasis in this case was not in laying down the law--in providing a law that would tell them what to do or not to do--but rather, in how you treat and respect each other.

Paul spends a lot more time talking about how Christians should treat others rather than the "laws" or "beliefs" we should follow.  Come to think of it, so did Jesus.  Both of them did have principles they emphasized--"Love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength," "Love your neighbor as yourself", "Love one another as I have loved you," "Love does no harm to its neighbor," "Hold on to what is good, reject every kind of evil".

Maybe, if we start there, we can figure out what hills we need to die on.

Just my .04, adjusted for inflation.

No comments:

Post a Comment