The Bible talks a lot about worshipping idols and false gods, especially in the Old Testament. We often think of worshipping things such as money, material possessions, and fame. But, have you ever considered that just maybe there are times when we focus on our personal convictions so much that we actually worship them?
Please don’t misunderstand me here. I believe that we each should have convictions, and they should be strong for each of us personally. But lately, I see such a trend in Christians tearing each other down over personal convictions. I’m not talking about deep theology here, just personal convictions. The Bible is silent, very vague, or gray at best, on many different topics. Some of these include: music, movies, discipline, drinking, tattoos, piercings, modesty and the list goes on.
We, as Christians, try to be careful not to judge the world too harshly because they know no other way. But when it comes to other believers and their personal convictions, we are more than happy to throw the Book at them and condemn them in their “ways”. The Bible commands us to give preference to other believers. Why should we treat them any more harshly than we treat the world? Now it’s one thing if something happens that is clearly stated as a sin in scripture such as a spouse leaving. It’s another thing when it’s our personal conviction or even many times just our personal taste.
Another thing that I have been especially aware of is how accepting the world tends to be in differences. They expect that we are not going to agree on everything and get along with life anyway. It seems to me that many Christians could use a lesson in grace in this area. God created us all differently. We all have different experiences and can only ever see the world through our own eyes. Nevertheless, we are told to love one another.
For example, I love my family. They are crazy, but I love them. Yet, I don’t agree with everything any of my siblings do! I don’t even fully agree with my husband sometimes! But, we are a family and I will always love them regardless of whether or not I agree with their convictions. And hopefully, I will always show them that love. As a Christian, we are part of a huge family of Christ. God wants us to treat each other like we would our own family.
Really what it comes down to is conviction, motives, and grace. I believe that the Bible is vague about many things because God wants each of us to seek Him and wrestle with Him on many issues. He wants us to look to him for how we should be living our lives and making our daily decisions. We must constantly ask ourselves, what are my motives in doing, or NOT doing something? Is it to please God? Is it to conform to an image (either bad, or good)? Lastly, grace. We need to bestow grace on those who have convictions other than ours. If we feel that someone’s convictions don’t match up with ours and we feel that they may be a stumbling block to us, we should pray about it, and then humbly talk to them about that conviction. They then should also seek God, and extend grace back to us.
Honestly, the Gospel is so much bigger than convictions. Convictions are important, but they are not the overarching theme in the Bible. We need to be so careful that we don’t tear the family of God apart based on sheer personal convictions.
- What convictions (or standards) have you seen either personally or within an organization that you would consider as worshiped?
- Have you recognized that maybe you have standards that you idolize?