I think we can all agree that this past year has been polarizing. We have all probably said something at one point or another that we never thought we would actually say out loud.

We have typed and erased and typed and erased and typed once again comments that we later questioned if we should have even sent. We have scrolled our phones and chosen to put them up because of the brokenness we see on the screens of our smartphones.

And yet through all of the chaos, through all of the politicizing, I hope you have noticed the same thing I have amongst Christians.

A disregard for people. 

Hear that I specified that I have noticed this, meaning, I believe it has always been there, but I am just now seeing it for what it is. Maybe this isn’t the first time you have seen it for what it is. Maybe you saw it years ago. Yet I believe that because of the verses below, we are clearly not the first generation with this stumbling block.

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Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. 

Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean. For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died.

(Romans 13:3, 14:13-15 ESV)

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Just because you do not feel something, does not mean that someone else feels the same.

In this time, many still wondered if they should or should not eat meat that had previously been deemed unclean. Though Jesus had clearly said it was okay to eat any meat one pleased, some still felt uncomfortable.

Some people chose not to eat meat because they knew it might stir about sin in their own lives. They had different experiences, therefore, they had a different perspective.

Paul is asking that Christians not prompt other Christians to abandon their calling or conviction in certain areas of their lives. He even goes so far as to ask those Christians to follow in that conviction when their sister or brother is around.

This is a completely foreign concept to most of us. We would rather argue hour after hour with someone that it is not sinful for them to eat pork rather than just give up bacon for one meal.

We would rather argue that we don’t see color than listen to someone’s heart for racial reconciliation.

We would rather debate the way we dress for church than trust that someone can have an experience with God no matter their garb.

We would rather defend our political party or our denomination or our country than defend our brothers and sisters.

We would rather prove ourselves right than admit our conviction may be different–or dare I say wrong.

Now hear me say, I am not neglecting that we should give an account for our convictions. Paul specifies in these verses that he absolutely believes meat is clean. He also never says that he believes others are unclean because they choose not to eat it.

He took scripture for what it said without adding or taking away anything at all.

Consider this as you enter into disagreements with other believers: is this an issue that threatens their salvation?

Or does it just threaten my pride?

Everywhere I go, I feel called to address the ignoring of racism and prejudice within theAustin & Lauren Wedding-02845.jpg church. It is a calling I know God has placed specifically on my heart, and I believe He did that with purpose. I believe He gave me an incredible teacher in my husband to prepare me for this. I believe He will one day use my children to teach me even more.

But I have not always felt this calling. Before meeting my husband or my other friends of varying colors and cultures, I had lived in a fairly white, American bubble. I was one of the many who touted proudly that I don’t see color (a position I have since rejected because of my understanding of the Bible). It wasn’t until God placed other Christians in my life who had the same calling that I began to feel that conviction.

It took months of learning to be silent on my end.

It took listening to the conviction another had that I was sure I would never be convinced to have. I thought I would be called somewhere else. Somewhere easier and more accepted.

Our God calls us to stop disregarding others’ convictions and begin listening to the hearts of the children for whom He died.

There are others who are called to a different worship style. There are many who are called to a different denomination. And unless it questions the truths of our Jesus and His word, I should be quick to listen and slow to speak.

I should be ready to learn and careful before I teach.

I should be conscious of the fact that my small knowledge of this world is not someone else’s Holy Spirit and that the Holy Spirit could potentially be using their convictions to challenge my heart too.

For if we are more concerned about being right than grating love, have we not missed the greatest commands?

The command that is not only important but is the best blessing we could ask for?

Love God. Love your neighbor. Not exceptions. No unless’s. No caveats.

Love. Listen. Hear. Learn.

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How can you challenge yourself to love neighbors who have different convictions than you do this week? Share it in the comments below.

To continue going through Romans with us, read the following verses this week.

Romans Series Reading Plan:
Monday: Romans 13:1-7
Tuesday: Romans 13:8-14
Wednesday: Romans 14:1-4
Thursday: Romans 14:5-12
Friday: Romans 14:13-19
Saturday: Romans 14:20-23

If you are just now joining us in this study of Romans, be sure to check out the first five weeks! Week 1Week 2, Week 3Week 4Week 5, Week 6

You can either catch up with us or go at your own pace. This explanation of how to study the Bible might also be helpful. Thank you for joining. Please let me know how God has worked in your heart in the comments below.

In Christ alone,

Lauren

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