How to Rightly Disagree
A lengthy passage today to make up for missing a day yesterday. My bible captions this next section: “The Law of Liberty”. Paul’s words here are consistent with his other writings, especially his first letter to the Corinthians. Here are verses 1-12: “Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things. 2 For one believes he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables. 3 Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats; for God has received him. 4 Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand. 5 One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it. He who eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks; and he who does not eat, to the Lord he does not eat, and gives God thanks. 7 For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself. 8 For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. 9 For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living. 10 But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. 11 For it is written: “As I live, says the Lord, Every knee shall bow to Me, And every tongue shall confess to God.” 12 So then each of us shall give account of himself to God. 13 Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way.”
I think this is pretty easy to understand. There are many things about which we can disagree with our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. Two examples are given here; eating meat and observing special days; most likely feast days. In both cases there can be disagreement but there doesn’t have to be division. Also, there should be no hatred or enmity toward one another. Note Paul’s admonition not to show contempt or to despise the one you disagree with. Each of us should be convinced of why we do what we do or why we believe what we believe. There is no reason to negatively judge others over these things. Note that Paul is not referring to basic doctrinal issues [though there is still no reason to despise or have contempt]. I have people that I love dearly who don’t agree with me on certain issues or matters of faith. We each have liberty and we should all have love, even when we can’t agree. One more thing: note the emphasis on our connection to the Lord. We “eat to the Lord” and we will give an account to the Lord. What matters most is our relationship to the Lord. We should never allow a negative relationship with someone else to hamper our relationship with God. When our relationship with the Lord is right, there won’t be wrong judgment, hatred or contempt for others, even when we disagree.