Reading in 1 Corinthians the other day, I was struck by Paul’s words.
“When I was with the Jews, I lived like a Jew to bring the Jews to Christ. When I was with those who follow the Jewish law, I too lived under that law. Even though I am not subject to the law, I did this so I could bring to Christ those who are under the law. When I am with the Gentiles who do not follow the Jewish law, I too live apart from that law so I can bring them to Christ. But I do not ignore the law of God; I obey the law of Christ. When I am with those who are weak, I share their weakness, for I want to bring the weak to Christ. Yes, I try to find common ground with everyone, doing everything I can to save some. I do every thing to spread the Good News and share in its blessings. (1 Cor 9:20-23)
If only we would all follow in Paul’s footsteps. He didn’t see customs as right or wrong and instead saw people who need love. He made every effort to find common ground with everyone.
What if we didn’t judge people? What if we sat down with a person who had a completely different background and asked about their life? What if we looked someone in the eye who dressed more provocatively than us and showed we respected them? What if we gave food to a homeless person as we smiled and shook their hand?
I love how one version says in verse 21 “I agree with them (Gentiles) as much as I can.” Paul isn’t saying to do anything God would disapprove of. He is saying we should enter people’s world and talk to them on whatever level they are on. Whatever they are doing or have done, people were created by God. He created us to be in a community and to rely on each other.
No one is going to become a Christian when the Christians they know are self righteous arrogant jerks who forget they are sinners. They will come to know Christ when we show them the love they deserve.
So the next time we are tempted to judge or condemn someone, we should figure out what we have in common. We should focus on all the ways we are the same. Maybe then we can tear down walls and misconceptions.
Let’s choose to love.
Linking with Faith Along the Way