During these times I am following some principles.
1. Everything I do and say needs to be a good advertisement for God. I am an ambassador for Jesus, and all that many will know about Him is what they see in me. A question I ask myself daily is, ”If I were a skeptical unbeliever, would I be drawn to faith in Christ by someone who was acting and talking the way I am?” part of my responsibility here is to be aware of the opinions and values of those around me, which changes all through the day as I move from situation to situation. Practicing deference is a major discipline of those who really want to influence other people positively. Deference as I define it is, ”Limiting my personal rights and freedom so as to not offend those whom I am wanting to convince to follow and love Jesus the way I do.
1 Corinthians 9:19-23 For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I may win more. To the Jews I became as a Jew, so that I might win Jews; to those who are under the Law, as under the Law though not being myself under the Law, so that I might win those who are under the Law; to those who are without law, as without law, though not being without the law of God but under the law of Christ, so that I might win those who are without law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some. I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it.
2. I will forgive anybody of anything quickly no matter how rude or obnoxious they might be in expressing their views, opinions, or criticisms toward me or others around me that are family or friends. I will not answer rudeness with rudeness, a critical statement with defensiveness or an insult with an insult, but I will answer with grace, humor if possible, I will give a blessing from God, and I will offer to pray for them if appropriate.
1 Peter 3:8-9 To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit; not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing.
3. I will accept, be patient with, and love those who are different than I am in their views, values, beliefs, and opinions. I will not argue or debate with them about where they are. I will ask questions and honor them by listening attentively as they give expression to their views. I will answer questions they may ask with with no haughtiness or superiority because of my freedom. During the days of the New Testament there was a huge division in the church over whether it was alright to eat meat offered to idols and Paul gives this advice;
Romans 14:1-4 Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions. One person has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables only. The one who eats is not to regard with contempt the one who does not eat, and the one who does not eat is not to judge the one who eats, for God has accepted him. Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.
4. I will obey God rather than men if ever there is a conflict between God’s rules and man’s. As I wrote yesterday, all governments will eventually move towards resisting Christianity, then oppressing, and then persecuting. It was interesting to hear President Trump recently say critically, that our governments, Federal and State are giving Muslims more leniency in their gathering than to Jews or Christians. If I ever become convinced that the restrictions against our church gathering together to worship is out of balance with what else is happening I will choose to break the quarantine with a clear conscience and make a very big fuss if myself or anybody who chooses to join me is penalized for it. I am really hoping that it doesn’t come to that, I really don’t enjoy making a fuss, and I would do so reluctantly, but I would if I came to the conclusion that it was the right thing to do before God.
Acts 5:28-29 the rulers said, “We gave you strict orders not to continue teaching in the name of Jesus, and yet, you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.” But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.”