Have you ever tried to do something, and someone else discounted what you were doing? Your best efforts weren't good enough. Or, they saw what you were doing, but thought maybe you could improve. Then you stood there, trying to justify yourself... knowing you were trying to convince yourself as much as you were them.
If you were even able to be civil with them.
Civil. Treating someone like one of your... rank. As a fellow citizen, in the original elevated sense of a Greek Polis.
Two seconds of history:
Greeks, progenitors of democracy, rose to prominence through the development of the polis. The Polis is similar to a small village where the citizens are respected- because they are respectable. They were men who harvested enough food for their families, and when push came to shove put on their armor, grabbed their shield, and would stand shoulder to shoulder with their neighbors to defend his home. A master unto himself, with no king- doing what is right because it is the right thing to do... Or at least how Aristotle, a Greek philosopher of note, described it. The were responsible, because they knew that with the acceptance of responsibility came the power of self-government.
What is it about us as humans that need to be elevated. We can not stand the thought of being humbled, of actually displaying humility. And here I am, typing away on a blog- which I have been told as being audacious.
Today in my reading, I went through Romans 14; how appropriate. First line: Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. What are these disputable matters?
Food; silly! 2 One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. 3 The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them. It has been very interesting- talking about food lately. Since I wrote that post about fasting- I have received questions, comments, concerns. Some people have told me I'm doing it wrong. Or that I should keep it a private matter.
Do you ever want to throw Bible verses in their face to shush someone? 4 Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand. See! Don't judge me; God makes me stand!
Somehow; I get the feeling I'd be smacked down by Paul. Paul appears to be what I will call a 'Love Oriented Pragmatist.' 5 One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind. 6 Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord. Whoever eats meat does so to the Lord, for they give thanks to God; and whoever abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. 7 For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. 8 If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. 9 For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living. It is not that he is siding with anyone... or any particular tradition or ideology... rather Paul is pointing to Christ.
I think this is the thinking: If you really do believe in Jesus, and have accepted that He in fact God. And that He, who you have accepted as your God and you who have submitted to Him as such, is Charge. As you try to give yourself over to Him, as you honestly try to become more like the example He gave you, through the power of the Holy Spirit, you will become like Him. This Paul encourages.
So if Jesus is your Lord- as in He's your boss and you're the employee in a very permanent sense- don't judge. You have other responsibilities. He adds: 10 You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. 11 It is written:
“‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord,
‘every knee will bow before me;
every tongue will acknowledge God.’”
12 So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God. Paul goes a step further:
13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. 14 I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean. 15 If your brother or sister is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy someone for whom Christ died. 16 Therefore do not let what you know is good be spoken of as evil. 17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, 18 because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval.
I work as a server at work. I 'wait' on people I wouldn't normally ever talk to. Some people have money, others don't. Some people are civilized, others smell, bad. Some have money, and no class, other with class have no money.
Some people leave tips, others are Canadian. (I joke!)
Yet at work, I've learned one thing. Treat everyone like they a the best client you know. Treat them like they are your boss, mom, and food inspector who also writes reviews in the newspaper.
You treat them like this for two reasons; people are always watching... Your bosses, co workers, other tables, and your clients. You never know when your review is in the works, or when they person your serving really is a reviewer, rich, or a bum. I have been shocked at the misconceived judgments I've made. Over time- I've learned that in the long run it simply pays off. Promotions, tips, coworkers, your boss and customers love you. It works out for everyone.
I think this is what Paul is saying in the next verse: 19 Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. 20 Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a person to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. 21 It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother or sister to fall. We work for the Big Boss upstairs. If you do things in light of the fact you really are just an employee, and you have to make His clients happy... You can't think of just your need.... But the 'job' and how it relates to others.
So... 22 So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who does not condemn himself by what he approves. 23 But whoever has doubts is condemned if they eat, because their eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.
So... How does this affect me? How do I live civilly? I don't.
I think I'm meant to live as a servant.
Soooo.... aside from water- anything else I can offer you... We have this.... Amazing...
The picture is supposed make you jealous. ;-)
Just as a reminder I'm still running the 'Your Blessings' Contest. I will be shutting it down on... The 20th- and then Run a little Poll. So- If you'd like to get your story in, we're running out of time! Quick!