by Brandy Webb
It is the Passover/Unleavened Bread season. I enjoy this Holy Day/week very much because it represents how hard it is to remove sin out of our lives. I can spend hours cleaning out my house and still find some type of leavening long forgotten in the freezer. It just shows how much we need a Savior, plus, how much we need to reflect and examine ourselves, not just once a year, but all the time.
The key thing is to examine ourselves, not to examine and point fingers at others. Why? Because in the end we only get to answer for ourselves, not for someone else, and someone else doesn’t get to answer for us.
3 For if anyone thinks himself to be somebody, when he is not, he deceives himself. 4 But let each one examine his own work, and then he shall have boasting in himself alone, and not in another. 5 For each one shall bear his own burden (Galatians 6:3-5).
Sometimes, I think we step into the temptation of trying to point out where everyone else is going wrong, instead of focusing on what we, ourselves, may need to work on.
It is one thing when we see a brother or sister actively sinning to confront them in a loving manner, remember we all fall short, and help them repent and turn away from sinning (Galatians 6:1). Or you could do what John states in 1 John 5:16, to pray for them and ask God to help them. We need each other to help each other stay on the very narrow path that leads to life. However, what we do not need is judgment over spiritual issues that cannot be fully confirmed nor denied in the Scripture. Paul makes some very valuable points in Romans 14, on how we are to treat each other when we may see things differently. We are totally incapable and unqualified to judge someone’s heart.
The truth is, we are all different. We also see things in the Bible differently. It is easy to understand things like “You shall not steal” (Exodus 20:15). However, it may not be clear how to praise God. You may feel that praising God is singing hymns, and I may be okay with blasting Christian rock music and dancing as praising God. (Do not worry; I will not display this type of rejoicing during services.)
All joking aside, my point is that there are going to be differences of opinions. We do not need to agree on everything. Nor, is it our job to try to force our opinions on someone else. It is like trying to force a circle to become a square. However, we do need to agree on the foundation, but we do not need to agree on everything, especially the style and manner each of us chooses to worship our God and Messiah. The one thing for sure is that if I feel something is a sin, I must not do it because then it is a sin for me. I have to be convinced in my own mind of my beliefs, and you have to be convinced in your mind (Romans 14:5). Yet, our differences should not cause strife and division. We should love and accept each other because we are all fighting the same battle to enter the Kingdom of God.
This season is a time of self-reflection. For me, it is definitely a reminder to make sure that I am “proving all things.” I do not want to fall into the trap of traditions and doctrines that I can’t back up with the Scriptures, and I also need to make sure that I can back up with Scripture the things that I believe in. I always find something new when I reread the Bible, and it is awesome when God shows me something that I need to improve on in my life. I do not want to become stagnant nor old wineskin. I realize that I do not have all the answers, and no one does either. So, while I self-reflect I must do it with love and grace because I am going to make mistakes.
Examining oneself is a healthy thing to do; examining others, not so much. Helping each other, being there for each other, offering advice when asked, sharing our own testimonies, being a light, letting Christ shine forth, these are great things. Being prideful and judgmental by criticizing others is never a good thing.
I am grateful that the real judge is not me because I see things through a glass darkly. I am grateful that the One who I will have to answer to is my Savior, the whole “reason for the season” of Unleavened Bread. He is the only one qualified to look at me, examine my intentions, and to weigh my heart. With His Spirit I hope to examine myself and to rejoice in His Holy Days.