Upwardly Dependent » walking the delicate balance of absolute truth and overwhelming grace.

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Don’t Judge Me Because I Sin Differently Than You {A Mountain We All Need to Climb}

I just returned from a week in Colorado. Why in the world it’s taken me 26 years to make it there I’ll never know.

I mean, look at this photo I shot from 13.5 miles up Pikes Peak.

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Last week totally turned me into a mountain gal. I could have soaked up this landscape for days. But that’s about where I want it to end.

I don’t climb mountains.

As I walked through the snow-covered picnic area of the gift shop at Pikes Peak, all I could think about was how miserable it would be to try and climb a mountain in that mess.

Shoot, I think it’d be pretty miserable to climb a mountain in go-go-gadget boots. Or riding a donkey. Or with the help of a jetpack.

Seriously, I don’t climb mountains.

Part of me loves to see a challenge staring me in the face. I enjoy the thrill of tackling a hot glue gun project or a new professional job. I love meeting new people and seeing new places.

{I’m growing to appreciate challenges that involve exercise…okay, people?}

But there’s another part of me that wants to run from big ole’ mountains. I’m not talking literally anymore.

You know, those looming, scary parts of your mind that always creep back to haunt you? Or the relative that reveals your inner demon who can think up some pretty creative ways to torture someone? Or the task that seems impossible to even scratch the surface of completion?

My mountain usually juts out of the top of every church building.

A few months ago, I wrote a post about being a millennial and wanting to bring unity to a church divided. Good news: I’m learning a lot. Bad news: I don’t think I’ve unified anybody.

There’s a serious epidemic running through religious bodies all across our country. It’s not just in my faith background of the churches of Christ. I’m hearing it from all my fellow believers.

Christians are on either side of a theological shift pointing fingers and raising eyebrows and stabbing backs all for the sake of defending a creed.

And I’m standing in the middle hearing insults hurled back and forth. I’m reading the blog articles shared on Facebook with comments like, Yessss {please think like me}. I’m watching two religious armies building up momentum for one big ugly battle.

A battle that’s absolutely absurd. How have we all missed it?

Hello, everyone out there with a Bible in your hand. WE’RE ON THE SAME SIDE!

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In studying Romans 14 with some friends this week, I realized again just how fired up this topic makes me.

One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him.

To my Christian brother:
We may worship differently. We may sing, pray, and preach differently. But you are not my enemy. God has welcomed you. And for this reason I welcome you as we labor together in the Kingdom.

Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

To my Christian sister:
You are not my servant. You are the Lord’s. So I have no place to judge your service. The Lord knows you better than I ever could, and He is able to make you STAND.

For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.

To my church Family:
We are a body. We are one Spirit, one mind, one baptism. But we aren’t worshippers of the name on our building. We belong to the Lord. And He is bigger than any walls we can put up to divide ourselves from others. {Or any church pews we can claim as our own.}

Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God…so then each of us will give an account of himself to God. Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother.

To my fellow believer:
We are on the same team. If I don’t work with you, then there’s no way we can win. I don’t have to answer for your actions, but you do. And if I truly care about you as part of my body, then I will do anything I can to build you up. To empower you. To strengthen you. To edify you.

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Guys, I don’t have time to go around trying to save the saved. My mission in life is not to pack every believer into my church building.

Somewhere along the line, we have to believe in the power of the Spirit to speak truth to people through God’s Word. And we have to believe in the power of our God to discern people’s hearts.

Take a load off. We aren’t the judges here. We are going to BE judged. And so is everyone else. {As in, the people who don’t know Him yet.}

We’ll never win over the world if we look exactly like the world. As long as Christians are beating each other up and talking poorly about one another, we dirty the name of Jesus. To the point that it’s not recognizable.

If we can’t get along with our fellow believers, then maybe we don’t actually believe. Maybe God’s Spirit is not in us. And maybe we are the weaker person in Romans 14.

However liberated I feel in my relationship with God, another person may feel more comfortable obeying a set of rules. It’s not my job to free him or her. It’s not my place to roll my eyes or to even defend my beliefs.

It’s God’s place to redeem. And it’s my place to love.

I want to climb this mountain. But I can’t do it alone. I needed my fellow believers joining with me, taking my hand, and committing with me to bring peace to the Body of Christ.

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Do you believe there is a need for healing? Will you commit to join me in this effort?

Comments

comments

Ryan MalechaDecember 15, 2013 - 12:09 pm

Very well said. Instead of being on a mission to look for the ways we’re different, we need to celebrate the unity that we have through Christ.