Q: Which would we rather have in our congregation… 1) A person who gossips, but doesn’t drink wine OR a person who has a glass of wine ever so often but doesn’t gossip? 2) A person who causes disharmony in the church but doesn’t smoke OR a person who smokes but is a peacemaker in the congregation?
Think about this, in Prov 23:20 gluttons are on equal par with drunkards! (“Be not among drunkards or among gluttonous eaters of meat”). So why do overweight Christians think they’re able to accuse and condemn others for smoking or drinking a little wine when their lack of discipline is literally being carried around by them daily? I’m just asking. Consider Ro 2:1...
Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. 21 You then who teach others, do you not teach yourself? While you preach against stealing, do you steal? 22 You who say that one must not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? 23 You who boast in the law dishonor God by breaking the law. 24 For, as it is written, “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.”
One of the sins we embrace, that is difficult to discern in ourselves, is prideful judgment of others. We are able to clearly see the sin, failings, and mistakes of others but hide, rationalize, and justify our own short comings. You do it… I do it… we all do. To think otherwise is to be laughably ignorant of our own condition. It is called having a blind spot of character. The problems we have are not the things we do so much as the condition of our heart. Paul wrote about this in Ro 14:1… (Read this slowly!)
As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. 2 One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. 3 Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. 4 Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand. 10 Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God… 12 So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.
15:1 We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. 2 Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.
Give me a congregant who smokes and drinks a little wine but doesn’t gossip and IS a peacemaker over a person who slanders and causes disharmony but doesn’t smoke or drink… any day. Maybe I’m missing something, but I don’t think I am.