(1) Welcome with open arms fellow believers who don't see things the way you do. And don't jump all over them every time they do or say something you don't agree with—even when it seems that they are strong on opinions but weak in the faith department. Remember, they have their own history to deal with. Treat them gently. (2-4) For instance, a person who has been around for a while might well be convinced that he can eat anything on the table, while another, with a different background, might assume he should only be a vegetarian and eat accordingly. But since both are guests at Christ's table, wouldn't it be terribly rude if they fell to criticizing what the other ate or didn't eat? God, after all, invited them both to the table. Do you have any business crossing people off the guest list or interfering with God's welcome? If there are corrections to be made or manners to be learned, God can handle that without your help. ...(7-9) None of us are permitted to insist on our own way in these matters. It's God we are answerable to—all the way from life to death and everything in between—not each other. That's why Jesus lived and died and then lived again: so that he could be our Master across the entire range of life and death, and free us from the petty tyrannies of each other.
T-shirts have been the big issue around here today. They want to know, as if I have the answers, why some t-shirts are offensive and others aren't. Where do we draw that line? It's a slippery slope, for sure. These are issues that make me want to run away, perhaps to Australia. I did a google shirt for "offensive t-shirt" and came across all sorts of candidates--including lots of ones I wouldn't post here. (Interesting that no band t-shirts were on the first 10 pages--after that I stopped looking.)
So are these band t-shirts offensive?
What about this?
Surely nobody would be offended by this shirt, right? Aren't we all in agreement that clowns are a little creepy? No? You mean some of you actually like clowns?
Surely we can all agree that we did the Native Americans wrong, right? So this shirt shouldn't offend anybody. Well, unless, you think something else...
And then there's this one: great saying, right? But--hmm. Didn't Jimi Hendrix die of a drug overdose? So probably he couldn't have said anything important...
And, well, this is my personal favorite. Anyone offended?
I'm not making light of this issue. I want my children to rise above and "treat others gently." I don't want them to "cross people off the guest list" because they wear their shirts tucked in and pants too high. Somehow it is difficult for them to make the connection that the fact that they are being judged--based on the length of their hair and the band on their t-shirt--is no different than them judging their peers because they are "preps" or whatever.Phew. It's exhausting to be a parent, especially when we are stilling figuring all this out ourselves.