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Saturday, June 6, 2015

Today’s Reading | Romans 14:1–12

Welcome those who are weak in faith, but not for the purpose of quarreling 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.

We do not live to ourselves, and we do not die to ourselves. If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, so that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living.

Why do you pass judgment on your brother or sister? Or you, why do you despise your brother or sister? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. For it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall give praise to God.” So then, each of us will be accountable to God. (NRSV)

Everyone has an opinion, and we all think we are correct. I have watched the church that I grew up in struggle with this: people fighting with each other over unimportant issues and telling one another they are not Christian enough. Meanwhile the true work of the church—helping those in need—suffers.

As a church we are a group of individuals from different walks of life, with different journeys. Of course it is understandable that we have different perspectives and opinions. At the same time we need to remember that God accepts everyone; it is not our responsibility to judge or change people but to accept them where they are. It is not our task to be so busy trying to decide the “truth” that more important things are overlooked.

Think what could happen if we as people of faith put aside our differences, stopped trying to change one another, and instead focused our efforts on changing the world, on taking on issues of justice, of people displaced by natural disasters. What if as people of faith we stop trying to “fix” each other and focus our attention on the bigger picture? Wouldn’t we then make a bigger impact, focusing not on an individual’s weakness but celebrating the strength we have when we are united together as the body of Christ!

Thank you, Lord, for accepting me for who I am. So often I focus on unimportant issues, and I allow petty differences to tear friendships apart. Remind me that we are all your children, that together we are called to work through our strengths and weaknesses to bring your kingdom here on earth. Amen.

Written by Katie Patterson, Junior High Youth and Mission Coordinator

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