Friday, April 03, 2009

Daily Digest #257

Resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way. —Romans 14:13

I once decorated a notebook with definitions of the words idea, thought, opinion, preference, belief, and conviction to remind myself that they do not mean the same thing. The temptation to elevate an opinion to the level of a conviction can be strong, but doing so is wrong, as we learn from Romans 14.

In the first century, religious traditions based on the law were so important to religious leaders that they failed to recognize the One who personified the law, Jesus. They were so focused on minor matters that they neglected the important ones (Matt. 23:23).

Scripture says that we need to subjugate even our beliefs and convictions to the law of love (Rom. 13:8,10; Gal. 5:14; James 2:8), for love fulfills the law and leads to peace and mutual edification.

When opinions and preferences become more important to us than what God says is valuable to Him, we have made idols out of our own beliefs. Idolatry is a serious offense because it violates the first and most important command: “You shall have no other gods before Me” (Ex. 20:3).

Let’s resolve not to elevate our own opinions above God’s, lest they become a stumbling block and keep others from knowing the love of Jesus. — Julie Ackerman Link

A Prayer
Lord, help me not to elevate my opinions and
make others follow. You are the convicter of hearts.
May others learn of Your love through me.

The greatest force on earth is not the compulsion of law
but the compassion of love.


I had to post the reflection above from Our Daily Bread last Sunday. It's very much well-written, it would be such a shame to not share it to everybody.

We can be full of opinion sometimes :D I, myself, am guilty of voicing out many of my personal opinions, disregarding compassion and truth. Not so long ago, I had a biased opinion about gay people (mainly because I have many gay friends), then suddenly turned judgmental and self-righteous upon realizing their "effect" on the community. But recently, when I watched Harvey Milk, I was made to realize that though we may make different choices, our passions determine our happiness in what we do, or who we are.

Discrimination is an option many of us take -- may it be on gays, other races, rich or poor, etc -- but according to history, it has only brought separation and uprising and war. We judge others as if we have no flaws of our own. It just so happens that what others are, or do, fall short on "society's standards". Rejects or outcasts, as we may call them.

Each of us has been made an outcast in different ways. But the popularity of such "notion" only depends on the level of attention we're getting, or the degree of the issue we're in -- again, based on society's standards. And we try hard not to be an outcast. We want acceptance badly in our lives, sometimes to the point of disregarding love and truth, just to be "in". And while some choose to be indignant, some just choose not to care, believing what a messed up world this is and there's no hope left.

But here's the good news! There's always hope in the Lord. Each of us has been made a member of Jesus' family, where everyone is loved and accepted -- unconditionally. He listens when no one else does, and speaks of love and wisdom. He broadens one's minds until one sees the way He sees, and rejoice in the beauty and goodness of life.

For this, let us pray. Instead of trying to reach human standards, may we comply with God's. May we restrain ourselves from judging others so quickly, and look at our own flaws. May we learn to practice humility and compassion in our lives. May we focus on building a relationship with God through His son, Jesus Christ. Pray always.

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