Whether it was the question of buying a steak at the local butcher shop that had come from a side of beef first offered in ritual sacrifice to a pagan god or whether a woman can pass an offering tray standing up as opposed to sitting down- disputable matters have always been around.
Thankfully, we have the Spirit’s wisdom to guide us through these frequent troubled waters. Here are some of what He shares:
First and foremost- do not pass judgment on each other– Romans 2:1; 14:1,13
The mature should never purposefully hurt the immature- Romans 14:13-23; 1st Corinthians 8:1;9-11; 10:32
It is better to give up a Christian freedom than to “destroy the work of the Lord” over it– Romans 14:20-21
Always seek peace and mutual understanding– Romans 14:19
Do everything with honor to God in mind– 1st Corinthians 10:31
Always put the issue in the proper spiritual context– Galatians 5:7
If all involved approached disputable matters this way then the Spirit would rule and not our emotions. We would be able to- through love and mutual respect- handle the disputes God’s way. And while we may still end up with different viewpoints the work of the Lord will not be hurt.
Motives, of course, are extremely important to consider here also. While we always must be sensitive to not create “stumbling blocks” we must also be mature enough to not be a “grumbling block”. Along this line there are questions we must ask ourselves.
* If we oppose something on the grounds it causes us to stumble- is that a genuine expression of our heart and a genuine threat to our faith or do we just not like it, are not comfortable with it, are wary of it because it is not our tradition and are basically prepared to go to war over it?
* If we are promoting something- is it because we truly feel like it will bless the church, cause us and others to grow and mature and is really needed- or is it just something we like, we want and feel like others who aren’t as excited about it as we are just do not get it, and are prepared to push it to the point of breaking?
Paul said it best, “The only thing that matters is faith expressing itself in love” (Galatians 5:7)
If we could only just grasp this and the rest of the Spirit’s wisdom maybe disputable matters would not be so disputable.