Practicing Christian

My journey to getting it right….

The Glory of God–POP Reflection

The following musings are based on my Portals of Prayer devotion for today, Wednesday, February 15, 2012. Associated readings are 1 Corinthians 10:23-33 and Psalm 24

The Believer’s Freedom
23 “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. 24 No one should seek their own good, but the good of others.

25 Eat anything sold in the meat market without raising questions of conscience, 26 for, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.”

27 If an unbeliever invites you to a meal and you want to go, eat whatever is put before you without raising questions of conscience. 28 But if someone says to you, “This has been offered in sacrifice,” then do not eat it, both for the sake of the one who told you and for the sake of conscience. 29 I am referring to the other person’s conscience, not yours. For why is my freedom being judged by another’s conscience? 30 If I take part in the meal with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of something I thank God for?

31 So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 32 Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God— 33 even as I try to please everyone in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.

Today’s Portals of Prayer devotion began with this sentence: “In an era of political correctness, it is easy to offend people.” This subject area has been at the forefront of my consciousness for a while now, particularly regarding perceived racial slurs and hate speech (the Roland Martin tweet and the Jeremy Lin headline are two that come to mind). I even wrote about context and the term “retard” in my other blog (link). Essentially, I believe that the discernment of context has rapidly declined and led to the vast majority of many of these misunderstandings…and the use of this discernment has atrophied by the lack of applied common sense. However, while I do believe we have become far too sensitive a society, we should still be mindful of not deliberately insulting or offending others—and at the very least make an effort to communicate on an even level. This is what the devotion discusses about Paul’s intentions regarding this issue in relation to Christian witness. Paul knew what was true and what was false, but in approaching others he took care to be truthful without being hurtful. Many Christian groups try to beat you over the head with their beliefs, going to incredible extremes to have their message heard. These tactics increasingly push anyone who may have been open to listening firmly into the opposite corner and typically get negatively branded as loudmouths or lunatics (one particular group comes to mind). So many churches see little growth or have little (if any) member engagement and involvement because of the way they deliver was is intended to be a message of love.

The devotion closes with this sentence: “In the end, we ask ourselves which brings greater glory to God: doing something because we can or bearing a good witness to Jesus Christ by refraining.” Many who want to witness their faith to others do not because they don’t know what to say or do…or how to say or do it. Sometimes all it takes is a friendly conversation and an offered hand of help and friendship to spark a new fire. Just ask a friend of mine.

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