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it's ok to be you

By Irina Coombes
July 31, 2020

Passages of the day: Click HERE ​to read today’s passages.

2 Chronicles 29:1-36
Romans 14:1-23
Psalm 24:1-10
Proverbs 20:12

Aaaaa! I love Romans 14. So much so, I kind of want to put it on a t-shirt. I also secretly want to show it to certain extended family members who I think need to hear its message for getting on my case for not eating meat. But that would not be very Christian, would it?

You see, I haven't touched meat in 4 years and I do my best to limit dairy (I love pizza, ok!?!) I really don't like labels, but for argument's sake, let's just call me a vegan.

Now, I in no way shame anyone for eating meat. My entire family grew up on meat...and lots of it. They continue to eat it to this day - which is fine by me! Romans 14 helps us understand that God himself does not judge us for the external differences we sometimes use to separate ourselves from people, or think less of them. Paul says, "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." Romans 14:14

This whole chapter can be applied to any facet of life!!! Not just food. What people wear, what they eat, what political party they support, and the list goes on. We can be different from each other in our tastes and in what works to help us best follow Jesus. This passage brings many questions to my mind. Since when do we all have to be the exact same? Why can't we have different opinions and be respectful of each other? When have people's clothes become a reason to judge them? Can my mom be proud of me for eating more veggies (there are worse things I could be doing)?

Tomorrow, this week, next month, I challenge you to purposefully seek out people who have different opinions than you and engage in conversation with them. Ask them to explain why they believe what they do. What made them come up with the opinion they hold or decision they made? Open up not only your ears, but also your heart, to understand that person. Don't argue back and try to make your point. Simply listen. You may start with a spouse or your child. Maybe your parents. You'd be surprised at what you can learn when you are listening with the intent to understand instead of being understood!

To memorize:

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.

— Romans 14:13

Prayer to start with: Forgive me when I've been judgmental Lord. Help me to accept those who have different opinions and respect the fact that you have made us all different. I want to appreciate the differences in everyone because we are all your children. Amen.