My dearest fellow believers,
Since I started writing about Biblical holidays, I’ve received countless emails from distraught family members. Some Christians are hurt and worried, because they think their loved ones have gone off the deep end with this “Jewish stuff.” Others are hurt and worried because their loved ones won’t get on board with what they say is the only “true” way to worship.
You’re fully convinced that you’re right, so those who disagree must be wrong. Right? Don’t be so sure.
“Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.” Colossians 2:16-17, NIV
Maybe you’ve decided you’ll just “speak the truth in love,” and tell people what they’re doing is wrong. With everything in you, I beg you, resist that urge! Trust me on this. Families, congregations, and longtime friends break apart every day over issues of holiday observances and food choices—the very things that the Bible says not to argue over! You could lose your spouse, your children, your parents, your friends, and your faith community. All the while, you’ll think you’re being persecuted for your great zeal, when in reality, you’re just receiving the natural consequence of disobedience to the Word that tells you to stop passing judgement.
Stay humble. The path that the Holy Spirit leads you is for you, not for your neighbor. It may not be the same path that he leads anyone else. He may fully convince your loved one to go another way. Those people who follow God’s leading in faith will be able to reach souls and minister to the hurting that you could never reach, because of their choices, and you will reach people that they cannot reach, because of your choices. It’s all part of the plan, each one following God’s leading for them, and playing out their part in the Body of Christ.
Just before Jesus was arrested, he prayed for his disciples, and for those who would believe in him through their message (that’s you and me). The issue that pressed Jesus’s mind as he was about to die was that we should not be divided.
Jesus prayed, “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” John 17:20-23, NIV
“Do not let anyone judge you” doesn’t mean to oppose those who judge you, arguing and trying to change them. And it certainly doesn’t mean for you to judge them. It means do not accept their condemnation. Do not allow their disapproval to weaken your faith. Do not allow your holiday observances (or lack of), or your food choices to cause division and strife between believers. These temporary things are unimportant. What is important is complete unity among believers. That doesn’t mean always agreeing. It means treating others the way you would like to be treated. Then the world will know that Jesus sent us and he loves us.