Monday, March 15, 2021
A year ago, right around now, is when our church closed down because of COVID. We all shut down and everything closed. Boy, we did not realize how long we'd have to stay closed. We were closed for 17 weeks. We had so many different things and promises that if we did this thing or that thing now, we'd be all right. We're still dealing with a lot of that even now. I'm not here to relive the past, except to say that it's interesting that there has been so much back and forth since that time over the last year. Some people say you should wear masks all the time and others say that it's a grand conspiracy. Others say that COVID is a serious threat, while others say that lots of people survive it and it's not a big deal. There's a lot of back and forth. A lot of times, that back and forth can turn a little personal and a little tough.
Here's what I want to say (and this is something that I think the more you mature in your faith, the more you not only understand, but you appreciate and live by): some things in the Bible are black and white. It's always right, or it's always wrong. So much of the Bible is black and white. Jesus is God; that's black and white. He is God. It's black and white. If you don't think He's God, you have a false belief system. The Bible is God's word. It's black and white. Sin is wrong. It's black and white.
The Bible at times says there are some areas that are not black and white, and I am calling this little talk "Gray Areas". I'm calling it gray areas because there are certain things that involve gray areas. Should you wear a mask or not? Is it right or wrong? "Well, if you wear a mask, you're showing that you believe it's a government conspiracy and assault and bla bla bla", and then if you don't wear a mask, "you're a mass murderer! You're a killer!" There's back and forth and the rhetoric flows.
Maybe when it comes to something like masks—not the most important thing in the world—maybe we need to understand that there are gray areas. Where do I get this from? Romans 14-15 talks a lot about gray areas. I want to read the first five verses of Romans. I want you to take it in because when you read about it, you'll hear and understand what a gray area is. A gray area is not a moral thing. A gray area is things where, for one person it's one way, and for another person, it's another way. Neither is right and neither is wrong. It depends on where they are in their faith. So, let's read the verse from Romans 14, starting at verse 1: "Accept him whose faith is weak without passing judgment on disputable matters." What are the disputable matter? Gray areas like we just talked about. After giving the principle, Paul explains, "one man's faith allows him to eat everything, but another man whose faith is weak eats only vegetables" (there is a religious factor in that the eating of meat would be wrong). He goes on verse three, "the man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does for God has accepted him."
So what's he saying? No matter which way you are on a disputable matter, or, a gray area, it's okay. "Who are you to judge someone else's servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand." Then, in verse five, "One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind." So, let's go easy on the gray areas. If you want to wear a mask, and you want to wear it to bed, and you want to wear it everywhere you go to, that's your choice. If you don't want to wear a mask, and you don't want to do all that, it's your choice. You can have your own convictions, and I suggest that you do. Let's just be careful about how we speak about others who don't. The world is going to fight and complain. Do you expect anything different from them? No. But in the church, let's be one. If you want to fight about masks, that's your choice. If you want to violate scripture, that's your choice. I just highly encourage you to have your convictions and stand by them, but don't judge other people who don't see disputable matters the same way you do.
Father, help us to be careful on disputable matters, on gray areas. Help us to never compromise black and white, right and wrong, and help us to know when disputable matters occur, have our own convictions, and be careful how we assess others' convictions who may differ. We ask this in Jesus' name, amen. Gray matters, disputable matters, they exist. don't dispute, disputable matters. Have a great day.