A recent post attempted to persuade Christians to restrict their corporate worship attendance based on love. I believe love should be a Christian’s primary motivation in all things, as indicated in Romans 13. Love includes our responses to COVID-19 and other possible restrictions. Sadly, some Christians have rarely value love for one’s Christian motivation.
Instead, they have learned to base their Christian walk and discipleship through fear and harsh judgments. My prayer is that each Christian will walk primarily with hope and love than with fear and judgment. Still, the churches who base their faith on fear use one common argument to dismiss a variety of social behaviors they do not approve. This argument emphasizes the importance of “not being a stumbling block” (Romans 14:13-23 or 1 Corinthians 8).
Please note: I am not against the use of scripture to make one’s argument. Instead, I encourage the use of scripture because that should be the basis of all Christian theology and thought. No matter if the passage is Romans 14:13-23, 1 Corinthians 8, or another passage; all 66 books of the Bible give us instruction for today. Every bit of scripture should be read to see Christ’s context of love and justice than isolating a passage or verse out of context.
Admittedly, I embraced, grew up, and even pastored a church that operated out of fear than love. In each scenario, I often heard the “stumbling block” metaphor used to dismiss everything from tattoos, to one’s clothing style, to interracial dating/marriage, to political differences, to benevolence policies, and more. The stumbling block metaphor was the catch-all legalistic argument to promote any biased agenda or prevent needed change within a church.
Friends, our culture is watching how Christians respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and any other crises. Are we being stubborn in our worship habits or choosing the path of love? What about caring and loving those who are less fortunate than us? How are we innovating during a pandemic? Simply, what are we doing as Christians that reach others beyond the walls of our church buildings?
Affirmative answers to these questions will show our culture the grace, hope, and love of the Lord Jesus Christ lives within us. Or, our responses can become a stumbling block to our culture, which is rapidly rejecting the Christian message. After all, it is one thing to quote the stumbling block metaphor within our churches, but how are our attitudes as Christians and churches proving to be stumbling blocks too? Is it rooted in love?
The stumbling block metaphor applies to all Christians, not just those who use the argument most. How we use the metaphor will determine if we are using our faith for fear or from love. Remember, “we can be technically right, but lovingly wrong!” Not only should our response be in love, but we should bring people closer to Christ. My encouragement on COVID-19 or other issues is that we lovingly and consistently apply all of scripture to another. That’s one test I believe Christians face during these times. In response, let’s reject being a stumbling block, but embrace being a stepping stone for one’s faith, as our foundation is Christ’s love.