Chapter-a-Day Romans 14

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If there are corrections to be made or manners to be learned, God can handle that without your help. Romans 14:4b (MSG)

As I’ve walked the journey with many fellow believers of a wide range of theological persuasions, I’ve noticed a common issue in our interpersonal relationships. I now see the problem, though at one time I didn’t regard it as such. At one time I considered this nagging characteristic a badge of honor, and I see that many of my brothers and sisters continue to do so. I call it the “Junior Holy Spirit Badge.”

The Junior Holy Spirit badge is worn by those of us who believe it is our sworn duty to personally convict others of their wrong doing. Eyes like a hawk, we hold our favorite version of life’s rule book in one hand and our personal tally sheet in the other. Constantly aware of what others are doing around us, it is our sworn duty to get in their face, point out what they’re doing wrong, point to our dog-eared copy of the rule book and call them to step in line behind us. Where would God be if he didn’t have me, Junior Holy Spirit Badge emblazoned upon my chest, helping Him to daily separate the sheep from the goats? After all, how are people going to be convicted of their sin, if I don’t personally tell them they’re sinning?

I have a confession to make. Somewhere along journey I took off my Junior Holy Spirit Badge and threw it in the ditch along the road along with my tally sheet and personal rule book. I realized that God’s message never asked me to convict people of their sin, but over and over again commanded me to forgive them. I also realized as I read His Message that I’m supposed to share God’s good news, which is love, grace, forgiveness, restoration, redemption and life. I didn’t have time to share the good news when I was busy sharing with people the bad news about what awful, terrible, sinful things they were doing and how it was going to land them in a world of spiritual hurt if they didn’t follow my prescribed version of personal obedience to God. I got tired of convicting people. It left me with no energy to love them.

And, I don’t want a merit badge for convicting people, I want a merit badge for loving them.

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2 thoughts on “Chapter-a-Day Romans 14”

  1. Hey Tom,
    All it takes is falling face down and remaining down for a period of time to realize that everyone else is above you. Thanks for your post. You are right, it requires the energy of the Lord to convict others. It is enough for us to merely love. I hope for many to read this post as I have and evaluate personally what it means.

  2. 22-23Cultivate your own relationship with God, but don’t impose it on others.

    I grew up in a culture that knew what it believed….potentially to a fault. This whole chapter helps me understand what the church should be today. Christian culture is always at risk for becoming too inward focused. Churches and other Christian community can become so entrenched on discipleship that it forgets to engage the world. I think where I grew up they viewed evangelism as imposing your beliefs on others. I could be wrong about that. I was young, immature and naive. My perception, though it was never spoken, was that WE did it the right way and everyone else needed help. Why did that develop in me? I’m not sure, but today I am reminded to teach my children this passage from the Message.

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