“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. (…) 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. It is written: ’As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.’ So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.” Roman 14:8-12
Today is October 31st; a day commemorated by some as skulls, witches, and zombies and others, like me, with grinning jack-o-lanterns and lots of (my grandson says) “good” candy. One could tell he was growing up when he asked me to please buy “good” candy (name-brand chocolate bars) instead of lollipops or wrapped candy like smarties. Maybe next year I will shock him and buy apples.
October 31st has become a very hot topic in Christianity; I try to respect each person’s opinion and belief; I rarely make comment. Those who “get my goat” are the true grown-ups who have found the right answers about this commemoration AFTER they and their own children have walked throughout the neighborhoods collecting candy for years; or those who turn out their lights and leave their homes for a few hours. In the neighborhood where we live, most folks who are participating take a folding table and chair out to the end of the driveway and treat the kids. Those who don’t want to participate turn out their lights; it works but I am always surprised by the number of people who don’t participate. Sometimes it is for religious beliefs, a very few sincerely can not afford it, but most non-participators just can’t be bothered.
So, as a Christian who chooses to reward the little cuties who trudge through the streets in cute costumes with sacks (usually with their parents or grandparents or both in tow), what should I do? KEEP MY OPINION TO MYSELF UNLESS A BIBLE VERSE CLEARLY AND UNDERSTANDABLY COMMANDS AGAINST IT! It is truly a concept easy to understand … DO NOT JUDGE YOUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS IN CHRIST UNLESS GOD HAS MADE IT CLEAR IN HIS WORD! Paul wrote very clearly in his epistle to the Romans, “each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.” I figure it this way … as long as I am not convicted by the Holy Spirit who does His job very well … I can commemorate October 31st, I can give gifts at Christmas, eat chocolate bunnies and eggs at Easter, have a tattoo to honor my Mom, paint my fingernails, and if my brother or sister in Christ IS convicted to not do these things than I can keep my mouth shut! We can also, by the way, ask the same respect of them.
We are all going to face God; the Bible says so. The Bible also says that if we ask for forgiveness of our sins, God will forgive and forget them. I’m not certain if God will bring these little beliefs up in our face to face or not; He is God and can do as He pleases. If He does, I am certain that we will be able to talk it through with Him and will understand what He tells us. We may laugh about our little differences or we may shed a tear or two but – one thing is for certain – judging, being contemptuous or treating members of our Christian family meanly or bitterly is WRONG … the Bible tells us so!
Let us ever love each other
With a heart that’s warm and true,
Ever doing to our brother
As to us we’d have him do. Refrain:
Kind and loving to each other,
Gentle words to all we meet;
Thus we follow Christ our Savior,
Proving all His service sweet.
© 2008 Carden’s Design. All Rights Reserved.
Unless noted, scripture is NIV ©1984 Int’l Bible Society
Hugs +/or ChIPS ©3/05 Eleanor J. Gale-Boone
About the Author: Eleanor Jean Gale-Boone lives in southern New Jersey. The eldest of six children from a close Christian family (50+ in total; 4 generations / country wide), her husband (Rick), her two children (Ed & Diana), her “in-loves” (Boomer & Alyssa) and her three grandchildren (Mathieu, Emma & Amelia) are her greatest joys in life. Although she suffers from Post Lyme Disease Syndrome, IBS, Fibromyalgia, and Diabetes – she serves God as He calls her, where He calls her, when He calls her – all in His power and strength. Through the power of the Spirit of God, she is learning to live in the calling of God to “be available” for Christian women seeking to find the Joy of the Lord in the midst of life’s circumstances. She is a published writer, an accomplished vocalist, an ordained pastor, a Christian counselor, and maintains an on-line encouragement ministry, “A Sister’s Hugs.” This devotional, ChIPS from El, is distributed through her website and posted to Facebook on the page, A Sister’s Hugs Ministries. At the call of God, she has established Kitchen Table Christian Counseling Services; a counseling service for Christian women struggling with life’s journey. She journey-counsels on-line through Gospel Guidance.com http://www.gospelguidance.com/search?query=gale-boone and face-to-face by appointment out of her home mailto:email@example.com. Feel free to visit http://www.asistershugs.org. God willing, she will soon return to seeking her Master’s Degree in Theology and Counseling.