I consulted someone as to what I could say to a person that asked for advice and then informed me that he had the Spirit, the Revelation and the Scriptures to guide him? My consultant answered with one word, “nothing.” Of course, people that are grounded or tied to their convictions are not likely to abandon them. I have also experienced that persons with such convictions are easily offended and offend others. Could it be that they are weaker in their faith than those that are more flexible in their acceptance of other beliefs? Once that crutch is taken from them, they easily shipwreck. Many times that crutch is a ritual that has very little to do with salvation. I come from a background where you had to wash your feet and be baptized as a believer. We paid little attention to Jesus that regarded the children as already present in his kingdom and to keep them out had the most stringent consequences (Lk.18: 16; Mk.9: 42).
We all need convictions to live by, but are they edifying or are they curtailing? I as a Christian can represent Jesus as being destructive or as being redemptive. I can push my views on others at the risk of their salvation and of mine. If I am a hindrance to another Christian, I am also a detriment to myself. The Apostle Paul learned to be all things to all men (I Cor.9: 22). Things may be acceptable to some people but are they helpful to others (I Cor.6: 12)? He would not even eat meat in the presence of vegetarians or drink wine with abstainers (I Cor.8: 13). Jesus was very unhappy with people that cleaned the outside but failed to purge the inside of their lives (Mt.23: 25-26). He cautioned splinter hunters that were burdened with beams (Mt.7: 3-5).
How are we to act in this world as followers of Christ? How did Jesus deal with twelve men that had forgotten their manners? They entered a room with their leader for their last meal. Instead of being hospitable, they clunked themselves down and expected to be served as if they were the twelve princes over the twelve tribes of Israel. This was the time to make Jesus their king and Judas was on his way to hasten the crowning. This was not what happened. Instead, Jesus put on an apron, got a bowl of water and washed the feet of these high and mighty men. Peter realized the mistake they had made and refused his Master’s service. The Master insisted that he could not be exempt from the fact that before he leads others he too must learn to wash feet and learn to be humble (Jn.13: 1-17). Instead of arguing who was the greatest among them or in the kingdom, they had to become like their Master who himself had come to serve and not be served (Mk.10: 45; Lk.22: 24-30). The kingdom of Jesus needs no more lords but compassionate and humble servants. The first Christian leaders, with the unction of the Holy Spirit, decided not to lay any additional Jewish burdens like rituals on the Gentile converts (Ac.15: 28). This lesson is not just for us religious people, but far more so for our grounded politicians.