So let’s stop condemning each other. Decide instead to live in such a way that you will not cause another believer to stumble and fall. 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. 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. Then you will not be criticized for doing something you believe is good.
Romans 14: 13-16
I’m in the middle of a dilemma. I posted a solo picture (#1) on Facebook asking opinions on whether or not this dress could work for my new book cover. The majority said, “Gorgeous. Love it!” and then there was another opinion that was strong, “It’s too sexy for the Christian market. It will detract from the message.”
Maybe I should listen and consider other options. So I posted this the next day with a few other options. Still the same debate ensued.
Look at these pictures below and tell me which one you think is best for- The Ultimate Love Affair: Experience God’s Passion For You in 40 Days. I bet you said #1 or maybe #2. Right?
I decided to set aside my opinions (wow I’m so mature) and see what God had to say about it even though my tendency is to basically ignore advice and do whatever I want. I realize that is childish and I’m trying to be more open to suggestions. So here I sit trying to decipher what it is God would have me to do. And then these verses came to mind in Romans 14.
“If another believer is distressed by what you eat, you are not acting in love if you eat it.”
Wow. That is a tough one. I was leaning on going sarcastic with it to make fun of Christians who are (in my opinion) too conservative and wear #1 anyways, putting a disclaimer on the back of the book cover, “If this dress is offensive to you DO NOT buy this book!”
But would that be acting in love?
So here I sit loving dress 1 and conflicted about wearing it because it could cause some to stumble even though I don’t believe it is inappropriate myself. And that is the dilemma Paul is talking about waaaaaay back in Bible times.
People were conflicted over who ate meat and who didn’t eat meat. And who worshipped on this day and who thought it should be that day. His stance was nothing is black and white. Nothing in and of itself is wrong, but if what you’re doing is distressing someone else just be sensitive about it. Act in love.
And today acting in love kind of sucks.
This faith stuff is challenging because it’s not just something you crack open on Sunday morning. It’s the application to life and trying to make decisions based on higher principles that if difficult. When you want to do one thing and then you see something like this, and you have to reconsider your opinions and ….gasp….surrender them.
It’s not an easy way to live. It is much easier to not care about what anyone else thinks and live like a bull in a China shop. Well, sort of easier. It does leave a lot of destruction in your path. And that is never fun.
So maybe there is an easier softer way? Maybe the pay off can be found at the end of that passage. You won’t be criticized for doing something you believe is good. Maybe if I can surrender I will save myself a lot of headache dealing with potential criticism AND open the message to a wider audience. Hmmm…imagine the wisdom in that.
Now I will conclude with one final thought. I don’t believe it is good to start morphing yourself into everyone else’s opinions just so they don’t stumble. You have to be true to you. Ask yourself, “How important is this to me?” and if it is extremely important than stick with your conscious and do it. If it is not that important, surrender for the sake of harmony and unity.
It doesn’t mean that I like it. It does mean that I am open to being more sensitive of others for the sake of the message. I want as many as possible to read The Ultimate Love Affair and not repel some just because of a dress.
Damn. I am learning.