Friday, June 17
I’m perfectly in accord with Paul’s teaching concerning gray areas, but it has led to a few problems. How do I live without being an offense? Let me give you a couple examples. As director of our MK school in Bolivia, I often had to deal with frictions between staff members. At one time, we had dorm parents of the grades 1-4 girls and the 1-4 grade boys that were utterly opposed on whether the kids should go swimming on Sunday. Neither would budge, although neither was putting pressure on the other to change. You can imagine the potential for antagonism between the two groups of kids. And you can probably understand how it could escalate into a major squabble. I had to think about the kids, but I had to respect the views of the dorm parents involved, too. For me, it was perfectly OK for the little kids to swim on Sunday, but I was uncomfortable about forcing the issue. For the record, I counseled both parties to respect the other view. To their credit, they did and they taught their kids to follow suit. Example 2: Elizabeth and I would occasionally get to the big city, Cochabamba. While there, some of us men would go to a professional soccer game, which was invariably played on Sunday afternoons. All of us felt free to do so, no problem. But a middle-aged single woman co-worker was offended by that and let us know about it. I guess I would put her in the category of Paul’s “weaker brother”—or “weaker sister” in this case. Not a very good approach! Since she had no interest in soccer, there was no temptation for her to go to a game on Sunday, but that other word in Rom. 14:13, “hindrance,” is still there. I don’t remember how this one turned out, but I hope we followed Paul’s line of reasoning.