Sometimes, it feels hard to maintain unity within the church, and between different churches. Unlike the Israelites, we Christians do not have a long list of individual laws to govern every aspect of the way we live our lives. That law was fulfilled in Christ. Instead, we rely on the principles that Jesus shared and the writings of the New Testament.
Many things are left open to interpretation. Should a Christian drink alcohol? Eat meet? Sing modern songs or hymns? Should we have drums in our churches, or guitars or organs? Should we use a liturgy in our services or go free-form? Where there are no strict rules given in scripture to govern these things, each must decide for himself how to honour God.
The key point is that, as long as another person does not make a choice that is contrary to scripture, and as long as they are convinced that their choice honours the Lord, then we are not to judge others’ choices. One day, we will all stand before the Lord, and each one of us will only be able to stand because he makes us able. Without him, not one of us would be left standing, so none us is really in a position to be passing judgement on another.
Even more, we must be careful not to cause others to behave in ways that they believe will dishonour God, even if we do not have the same belief. If a church member does not drink alcohol then, even if we do sometimes drink, we should not persuade the other person to join us, or serve them alcohol if we entertain them.
God wants us to live in freedom, but he also requires us to live in unity. Freedom gives us the choice to do things differently from others. Respecting each others’ choices enables us to be in unity despite our differences. Freedom only works when we act in love towards one another. Let us ask God to give us his love for one another so that his church might be built together in unity.