WARNING…You might not like this Blog, it even hurt my feelings!
You don’t have to look very far to find someone on this spinning globe crying about “their rights”…their right to free speech, aka saying whatever I please despite the pain it may cause you, their right to hurt someone for hurting them, aka I’m better than you so I can take my own revenge if I want, the right to practice any liberty I choose no matter how if affects anyone else around me, aka I can be selfish because I can do as I please. I, I, I, me, me, me…
We’ve all met those people. We may have even been those people at one time or another; but…just because something is our “right” does that still make it something we should do? Let’s see what the Apostle Paul has to say about it.
Paul addresses this in Romans 14:1-15 NLT. In verses 1-6 Paul says, ”Accept other believers who are weak in faith, and don’t argue with them about what they think is right or wrong. 2 For instance, one person believes it’s all right to eat anything. But another believer with a sensitive conscience will eat only vegetables. 3 Those who feel free to eat anything must not look down on those who don’t. And those who don’t eat certain foods must not condemn those who do, for God has accepted them. 4 Who are you to condemn someone else’s servants? Their own master will judge whether they stand or fall. And with the Lord’s help, they will stand and receive his approval. 5 In the same way, some think one day is more holy than another day, while others think every day is alike. You should each be fully convinced that whichever day you choose is acceptable. 6 Those who worship the Lord on a special day do it to honor him. Those who eat any kind of food do so to honor the Lord, since they give thanks to God before eating. And those who refuse to eat certain foods also want to please the Lord and give thanks to God.
Then in verses 14-15 he says, “I know and am convinced on the authority of the Lord Jesus that no food, in and of itself, is wrong to eat. But if someone believes it is wrong, then for that person it is wrong. 15 And if another believer is distressed by what you eat, you are not acting in love if you eat it. Don’t let your eating ruin someone for whom Christ died.
Yes we all have rights. We are all free to do what we choose because we are not under the Law but under grace. BUT!!! Paul is saying if we decide to walk in our freedom, our rights, and it hurts another person, then we should out of love and submission to Christ choose not to do what we want to. It’s not that we can’t do it, it’s a matter of “should I” do it.
Choosing to flaunt my rights in the face of someone that I know it will offend is an act of selfishness. Jesus asks us to choose others above ourselves, choosing to lay down our rights to prefer another person. This is in stark contrast to what we hear in our society today. It seems everywhere we turn the masses are demanding to exercise their rights in just about every arena possible, regardless of who it hurts or even how it hurts themselves.
We are required by God to walk in love. Love is not displayed when we choose our own rights without considering others. I Corinthians 12”31b-13:8a says, “But now let me show you a way of life that is best of all. 13 If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. 3 If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing. 4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
Choosing to lay our own desires aside for the sake of peace or for the sake of another’s preference is an act of pure love, one that Jesus will reward. Could we not compromise for love, and find a kinder way to be humans? Are we not called to re-present Jesus to others around us…to do that we must do as HE would do not as WE want to do. #ouch