Do you have to post your political views on facebook every week even though you know how much it irritates your sister-in-law? The Bible’s instruction on Christian liberty has a lot to do with how we respond to others who disagree with us.
As I was saying back in early May, the freedom to determine how you will worship, whether you will keep a Christian calendar with special days set aside, have an organ or a guitar is yours because of the sacrifices of other Christians in the 15,16, and 1700’s. The Constitution which was approved in 1789 legally ensured these rights to Americans. It is important that they are not limited by good people who are ignorant of this historical struggle and its importance to their own freedom whether Christian or not.
Indifferent and Secondary Issues
There are other Christian liberties regarding applications of how we will live and act. For instance, what you will eat or drink or wear, how often you should meet with other Christians, how and where you will educate your children, whether you will adopt a child or not are applications. Or like we said earlier, whether you will attend or bake the cake for a same-sex wedding. It is considered an “indifferent matter” when the scripture is unclear about specific applications. For instance, modesty is a clear teaching. But, what that means to you is less clear. Do your elbows have to be covered at all times? Does your hair have to be covered or put in a simple bun? Should these be things that are determined for you by someone else?
There are also “secondary issues” where a case may be made one way or the other by quoting various passages from the Bible. The mode of baptism or whether to baptize infants or children or what kind of church government to have are good examples of secondary issues. Sincere people come to different conclusions on this issues. Many came to America for the right to determine these issues for themselves.
However, our liberty does not cancel out Christian love. So Paul reminds us of our duty to exercise love toward those who differ with us:
Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. …why do you despise your brother?…each of us will give an account of himself to God….So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding (Romans 14:4-19).
Sometimes you must take the iniative yourself to have this peace. So don’t keep harping on your own opinions about child education and training, adoption, worship style, and music choices, and the latest trend in food or your definition of modest dressing or end-times. Lay your differences aside and find something you agree upon. Do it out of love and for mutual growth in biblical understanding and spiritual experiences of the heart. This takes work and forethought. Do it. Be a leader.
Try to live out this old saying in your relationships:
“Unity in essentials,
Liberty in non-essentials,
Charity (Love) above all other virtues.“
Love and peace and growth in biblical understanding are worth a lot to our families and friends and churches.
Do you have an issue that keeps popping up? These things take some thought, prayer, and searching of the scriptures. Perhaps a soothing walk on the beach to sort it all out is just what you need. Picture yourself sorting things out on one of my favorite beaches: