My pastor Steve just preached on Romans 14, an intense passage of the Bible about not judging a fellow Christian who holds different views on a “non-essential” matter. A thought came to my mind as he spoke. There are black areas and white areas, wrong areas and right areas, but most of life is lived in the gray areas. And most disputes that take place inside and outside the church are over gray areas. What color should the carpet be? When should the preacher first read the morning’s passage? Should I mind if a brother or sister has a beer at lunch?
But mankind is a judgmental race and we are most comfortable when we are judging — others. The only ones we won’t judge are ourselves. Funny, huh?
As Steve spoke I was thinking of some of the Christian groups who are most often judged over the gray areas. My mind went to the monasteries of the world and the varying lifestyles the monks and nuns lead. Evangelical Christians so often look down upon those who have taken vows of poverty or obedience to a religious order. But each person must make choices in the gray zone and some people choose to live this way. Some people stay away from popular products and fads. Some watch their language closely. Others take vows of silence. I can’t do that, myself, but I won’t judge one who does.
And that’s the key. People who live in the gray zone have to make decisions about what they want to do and all who are in Christ have the freedom to do so with a clean conscience. Some choose restrictions for their conscience sake. Let them restrict (err…whatever). Don’t judge them because they voted for a Democrat or they ordered a martini or they saw Pulp Fiction in the theater. There is freedom in Christ and the law of Love dictates that we look after our brother or sister with love and not condemnation. To help them and not hinder them. Even if you have to give up something you love in the process.