This title has nothing to do with the topic. At all. Just a good song lyric. Anyway. A lot has happened since i posted last. Me and Kelsey got married. My sister Alex is in Africa for a month. Summer is officially on. Life is going well.
I find myself trying to make other people live out my convictions a lot. It is hard for people born and raised in church in the south not to be legalistic. We want everyone to go by the same rules we choose to go by. I see this a lot.
first we need to understand that sin and personal convictions are not the same thing.
Sin is something that God has told us hurt his heart. Something that offends him. Examples of this would be murder. lying. cheating. lust. pride.
Personal convictions are things that we choose to do or not do because we feel that it is better for us personally.
We need to understand that if someone does not have the same personal convictions as you that does not mean they are sinning.
I get this a lot with voting. People tell me i need to vote. I have heard that i am sinning if i do not vote.
I have heard this a lot with drinking. and smoking. and listening to nonchristian music. and supporting companies who support gay marriage. and my personal favorite, getting tattoos.
I hear myself and so many others trying to be the Holy Spirit to people. Telling them how they should act and think. We look at ourselves as superior because we abstain from those things. This couldn’t be further from the truth. CS Lewis explains it better than i can in this quote from Mere Christianity.
Temperance is, unfortunately, one of those words that has changed its meaning. It now usually means teetotalism. But in the days when the second Cardinal virtue was christened ‘Temperance’, it meant nothing of the sort. Temperance referred not specially to drink, but to all pleasures; and it meant not abstaining, but going the right length and no further. It is a mistake to think that Christians ought all to be teetotallers; Mohammedanism, not Christianity, is the teetotal religion. Of course it may be the duty of a particular Christian, or of any Christian, at a particular time, to abstain from strong drink, either because he is the sort of man who cannot drink at all without drinking too much, or because he wants to give the money to the poor, or because he is with people who are inclined to drunkenness and must not encourage them by drinking himself. But the whole point is that he is abstaining, for a good reason, from something which he does not condemn and which he likes to see other people enjoying. One of the marks of a certain type of bad man is that he cannot give up a thing himself without wanting everyone else to give it up. That is not the Christian way. An individual Christian may see fit to give up all sorts of things for special reasons — marriage or meat, or beer, or the cinema; but the moment he starts saying the things are bad in themselves, or looking down his nose at other people who do use them, he has taken the wrong turning.
One great piece of mischief has been done by the modem restriction of the word Temperance to the question of drink. It helps people to forget that you can be just as intemperate about lots of other things. A man who makes his golf or his motor bicycle the centre of his life, or a woman who devotes all her thoughts to clothes or bridge or her dog, is being just as ‘intemperate’ as someone who gets drunk every evening. Of course, it does not show on the outside so easily: bridge-mania or golf-mania do not make you fall down in the middle of the road. But God is not deceived by externals.
Instead of trying to convince someone to take up our personal convictions I want to challenge you to do the opposite. Make friends with a Christian who doesn’t have a conviction that you have. A Christian who drinks beer. or smokes. or has tattoos. or is a vegetarian. I want to take it a step further and say to make friends with someone who isn’t a believer that does those things. Make a friend who is gay. Make a friend who is prochoice. Make a friend with someone who isn’t like you at all. How else will the world see the love of Christ if we stay in our little christian bubble with people who are just like us. God is calling us to be friends with people we aren’t like.
Remember what God calls us to do. Love him and love others.