Saturday, December 30, 2006

Handicap Awareness

From my morning reading

1 Corinthians 8:13 Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.

About 15 years ago, my wife broke her leg the day before she was to read Scripture before a large Christian gathering. After first aid was administered, we were told that she had to ride a wheelchair for the coming week. I became her loving and willing servant to push her to her public duties and private needs. Needless to say, we both got a major lesson in care for the handicapped. We have never been the same since.

What does this have to do with 1 Corinthians 8:13 ? Paul stated that the Corinthian church had people with weaknesses who were in danger of stumbling. Most of the meat sold in the public market was left over from pagan rites. New converts from paganism were in danger of returning to the offering of meat to idols and thus slipping away from the faith. Strong, mature Christians knew that idols were a figment of the imagination, so they had no qualms about buying and eating such meat. Some new converts, however, believed that such meat was contaminated with evil forces and therefore abstained from it.

How should these opinions live together in one church? Again, love for the other person outweighs one's rights and privileges. The strong dare not offend the sensibilities of the weak. What sensibilities of new Christians do you need to respect?

O Lord, please help me to respect and love the brethren as You do. Amen.

From GOD'S MAN
A Daily Devotional Guide to Christlike Character
Edited by: Don M. Aycock

Here is what really struck me about this reading: love for the other person outweighs one's rights and privileges. We are a rights society. So often, the decider is that it's my right. When we talk about something being not fair, it means we didn't get what we want.

James 4:1-2 says this: What is the source of the wars and the fights among you? Don't they come from the cravings that are at war within you? You desire and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. You do not have because you do not ask.

This attitude manifests itself in our homes, our churches, at work and in the world around us. How different things would be if love for the other person was our motivation. Sometimes we don't want to do that because the other person is just being weak. Why do I have to abstain because they have a problem with ____ ?

It's hard! I want what I want. Maybe I'll give you what I want if I still get what I want.

The reality is that many times there is a certain pleasure and joy that comes when we defer. Not my will but thine. We may give up one thing but we gain another. Jim Elliot said: "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose."

I want this. I want love. I want to learn to love others as I love myself.

Philip

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