Devotional Reading: Romans 14: 13-23
Text: I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself; but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it is unclean. (v. 14)
I try to be conscious of other people’s feelings and sensibilities. While remaining true to who I am, I adjust my speech and behavior in different settings. It is kind of like knowing what to wear at any given occasion. The Apostle Paul did the same thing. He wrote that he is “all things to all people”. Some criticize this as being “wishy-washy”, a chameleon Christian. But that is not at all what Paul meant. He was flexible enough to communicate in such a way that people could hear what he said. I do the same thing when I am invited to do an invocation or a closing prayer at a public event. I am true to my Christian faith while not being offensive to others from another faith tradition.
In his letter to the Romans Paul encouraged the community to be sensitive to the sensibilities of others. The problem was that some people who joined the community came out of a pagan background where meat was offered to idols. If they saw a fellow follower of Jesus buying meat from a pagan butcher, they may think that it was okay to practice their old way of life while following Jesus.
Paul said that while followers of Jesus are free to do many things, they must not do something that would cause another, especially those new to the faith, to stumble. We are one another’s keeper. We are responsible not only for ourselves but for others. That is what community is all about. That is what family is all abound.
400 years ago John Donne wrote his Meditation 17 which said in part that no one is an island “entire of itself.” We are connected to one another by our common humanity and more importantly by the cords of God’s love.
Lord, when the weed of selfishness sprouts in my wife, remove it from me. Each day let me be more and more conscious of you and drawn into the likeness of the Risen Lord. Amen.