“Welcome those who are weak in faith, but not for the purpose of quarreling over opinions.” Romans 14:1
For Christians, this piece of scripture is very important to pay attention, when one is trying to explain and show just what the faith of Jesus Christ is all about and why it is important. One needs to be inviting not confrontational, to be open and not closed. And above all else just be their selves (if they are truly Christians this is a very good thing). But this advice from Romans 14:1 need not be for just Christians, and for just bringing those into Christianity but for all peoples and in all situations.
In all matters of life, rather it is trying to sell a product to a customer, explaining one’ s point of view on a particular political issue, or just having a discussion about any number of things; the world would be such a better place if they remembered to be open and inviting to all peoples and all views all the time. That is not some of the time, but all of the time.
When encountering different viewpoints to one’s own, it is important that not only do we listen with one ear but both. What I mean by that, is not just putting up with the other person for the moment and then when leaving the room to throw out what he/she said in the trash (in one ear out the other). When this is done, we are not respecting the other person or his/her ideas.
Christian teachings are not just about the Christian faith; though that is important, they offer life lessons on how to behave and interact with one’s fellow human beings and being a Christian is not necessary to take them to heart and live by them (but it helps). One only needs to look at the United States and much of Europe and the rest of the “Western World” to see this is true. Most of the whole of the “Western World” has a long, deep-rooted Christian Tradition, yet is increasingly secular or not religious at all. Yet, the values that this part of the world holds dear such as basic human rights and treating every human being with decency and respect to just name a few can be traced back to Christian teachings.
So remember, regardless if you are a Christian or not, do not be confrontational with others, but be open to them and they hopefully will do the same to you. Despite what you may think it is not all about you, but God and all human beings.
“By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, competing against one another, envying one another.” Galatians 5:22-26
As followers of Christ, one is called to live a certain way, act a certain way to others and to be a certain way not sometimes not when it is convenient but all the time, every minute of every day. To the point of it, being second nature for us. This certain way as mentioned in Galatians 5:22-26 is basically to live in love, and to show others Christ’s love for them in our actions. Though as the scripture says it is important not to just be kind to others, but to be patient with them; to not be quick to anger with others and not to hold grudges.
Though this is not always very easy for us even as Christians to do, (it is never easy). One area in today’s society that I believe needs us to live more by the fruit of the Spirit is in the political divisiveness that constantly is facing the United States and the World in some places. We need to remember that though we have our differences on how to confront the different issues facing us, we are all humans and children of God.
So the next time you get into a discussion on a political issue, don’t to let your passion for it get the better of you. Be patient with the person or persons and listen to their side. When you keep your passions in check in either political discourse or any other arena of life and don’t allow them to take over you allows few so much better afterwards.
“And immediately they left their nets and followed him.” Mark 1:18
For Christians, this verse of scripture is very important in that when the Lord God is calling us to take action on something and to do something we cannot wait to do so. It needs to be done then and now. Unfortunately, this is an all too common theme in life to put things off, to say “I need to do this, I will do it tomorrow or next week.”
This is not just a good lesson/advice for Christians and those called to do God’s will but for everyone and for all of life’s experiences. Everyone, not just Christians could and should learn to not put important (any) things off till later. Mark 1:18 is not just about dropping everything at once to follow Jesus, it is about prioritizing one’s life with what is absolutely important being done first before anything else.
When you are called to do something meaningful, to help someone, when you see someone needs help in some way, you don’t put them off and say I will help you tomorrow or I have to do this first, do you? No, you help them at that very moment. At least, that is usually how it is done. And that is exactly what Jesus Christ is saying Christians need to do in Mark 1:18. Help now not later. Do, now and not put off, do what you say you are going to do in other words. As followers of Christ, we must remember that our religion is a religion of action, immediate action, but also that need not apply to only Christians.