Friendship Baptist Church Kansas City, Missouri
One Size Does NOT Fit All
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As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God.  For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord's. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living. Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; for it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” So then each of us will give an account of himself to God. Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. -Romans 14:1-13

 

Now that the weather is beginning to change and the temperatures are starting to fall. It's time to pull out the winter clothes. I had troubling finding a hat yesterday as I headed out the door, so I went to a local store in search of a quick inexpensive fix. I noticed that all the caps and hats at the store were tagged , "One size fits all" and they were at a very low price. So as I began to pick out my preferred style and started trying them on, I realized that none of these hats could fit my head. ( I proudly profess my head size is not average ...smile) So  when I spoke to the owner , he confessed that many other customers had experienced the same problem. You see here is the reality: One size does NOT fit everybody! 

 

In the current political climate, our world seems so divided on the basis of party affiliation. In our communities we seem so divided by race, ethnicity, sex and any other prevalent social issue. And sadly this same division can be experienced in the life of Christian congregations. That's what the Apostle Paul was attempting to address in the Romans 14 text.

 

We are One in Christ, but we are also very diverse in our preferences, ideas, perspectives and practices. Diversity is not a threat to unity. Learning to respectfully disagree without demonizing, victimizing or condemning another persons is very important to the Christian faith. Kindness is the currency of Christianity.

 

Insisting that everyone see things our way is often a sign of immaturity. As a pastor, teacher, husband and father yesterdays "One Size Fits All" episode was a gentle reminder to respect and be thankful that God uniquely created each one of us. We have differences that we must learn to appreciate and accept. Hopefully, our leaders both secular and spiritual will demonstrate more civility, kindness and respect in how they talk to and treat each other. It starts with each one of us.

 

Prayer

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Where uncivil words prevail, show me how to model love. Help me remember the God-given dignity of all and invite others to do the same. Show me how to build bridges and not walls and see first what unites us rather than how we diverge.


Let me seek to understand before asking to be understood. Give me a listening heart filled with empathy and compassion. May I be clear in sharing my own position and respectful and civil in describing those of others.


Let me never tolerate hateful ideas. May I invite all love. Lord, help me to imitate your compassion and mercy. Make me an instrument of your peace.  In Jesus Name, Amen


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