[reaction OYB’s July 30-August 1 readings]
Romans 13 tells us to do what the authorities tell us to do, which I take as a condemnation of the Zealots–the original Zealots I mean–in Jerusalem, but maybe not. Then verse 6 says, “This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing.” In my Bible, I’ve written, “Take that TEA Party.” Of course, Paul scolds me in the next chapter by advocating for Christian unity.
In all seriousness, chapter 14 contains a scripture that I have tried for a long time to incorporate into my behavior, not always successfully. Paul writes,
Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them.
So, for me, this warns me against using my knowledge of scripture just to undermine the frankly immature faith of some.* That’s not to say I should be dishonest, but I also do not cruelly attack someone’s faith. It’s a tricky balance.
And of course, the even bigger point has to do with me evaluating the maturity of the faith of another. Paul writes, “You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat.” While I don’t buy everything Paul says at face value, these points seem to be important and inspired. They seem quite consistent with the teachings of Jesus that would later be recorded in the Gospels.
In Second Chronicles, by the way, we’re reading about how awesome King Hezekiah is, but we know it won’t be good enough. Also, the twenty-third psalm is in today’s readings. It’s only six verses long. It seemed longer when I was memorizing it in Sunday School.
[UPDATE: *this line is a little harsh because I wanted to point out that I am guilty of being judgmental. So, as I read it last night it came off that way, but I thought, “Well, that’s the point is to show your failing.” As of this morning, I’m uncomfortable not pointing out explicitly that I realize this is an jerkish way to view the world.]