In the New Testament spiritual maturity is often seen in how I handle myself and act towards others who have differing opinions from me. At times we treat our opinions as Scripture – and we can become very Pharisaical in our attitudes towards others who don’t share the same opinions as us:
- How I should dress when I go to church
- The types of media we engage in
- Styles of worship
- How a church building should/shouldn’t be used
- What version of the Bible should be read
- Etc etc etc
Paul spoke about this in Romans 14 and 15.
He said that when considering the opinions of other people that are different than ours we need to be operating with an attitude of love (Romans 14:15). That means I love my fellow Christian more than my liberties, opinions or freedom in Christ.
He spoke about pursuing righteousness, peace and joy (Romans 14:17). This means in the areas of life that are opinion related I am not ‘bent’ on pushing my opinions on other people, but I am unreservedly committed to holiness, harmony and joy.
He also said I should be more concerned about building up relationships versus tearing them down through my own personal convictions (Romans 14:19, 22). This means I am conscientious of my personal convictions and I am mature enough to recognize that these are my personal convictions and I can’t be coercing them on others.
As believers we all at times have been guilty of subtly attempting to manipulate other Christians towards our own non-Biblical convictions. This does nothing but puffs up our pride and tears down the kingdom of God.
Again – this is not a post about obeying clear-cut Scriptural principles. This is about areas that the Scriptures do not specifically address and how we as believers need to conduct ourselves when discussing our opinions in these matters.