Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The ABC’s of Discernment: K is for Kindness

All of us want to dwell in security, free of guilt and shame. There’s nothing wrong with that desire. Indeed, it can be a wonderful force, driving us to Jesus Christ.

However, most of us seek less honorable ways of handling that desire. Instead of seeking forgiveness, we blame. Instead of repenting of our sins, we point fingers. Instead of changing, we measure and compare ourselves to others in order to build ourselves up.

This ingrained habit doesn’t change when we become a Christian. Rather, it often takes on a veneer of spiritualism: “I attend church every week.” “You’d never find me hanging around that crowd.” And the danger of comparison doesn’t go away as you mature. It just changes its emphasis: “They’re so legalistic they won’t even do xyz.”

While God has listed plenty of clear rights and wrongs in Scripture, He has also given us much flexibility and space in which to grow. An infant can’t eat solid food, but that doesn’t make eating solid food wrong. It simply means an infant must grow before he can eat it. Likewise, there’s nothing wrong with the infant just because he can’t join you for a t-bone dinner yet. Give him some time to grow up first.

So when dealing with “disputable matters,” as Paul calls them (Romans 14:1), please remember to exercise kindness. We each are on a journey to maturity, and no two journeys are exactly alike. This doesn’t mean we should flaunt our freedom. Nor must we suppress it, never getting to enjoy the liberties Christ has given. Rather, “the man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does.” (Romans 14:3 NIV)

Therefore, grow. Become mature.

And remember to treat others with kindness along the way.

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