"When you enter a home, greet the family, ‘Peace.’ If your greeting is received, then it’s a good place to stay. But if it’s not received, take it back and get out. Don’t impose yourself."
- Jesus (Luke 10:5-6)
Such wise yet remarkably simple advice. This clarified a life decision for me and released me from an unnecessary burden. Thank You Lord for the freedom to live and let live, the freedom to choose, and the freedom to breathe.
"Cultivate your own relationship with God, but don’t impose it on others. You’re fortunate if your behavior and your belief are coherent. But if you’re not sure, if you notice that you are acting in ways inconsistent with what you believe — some days trying to impose your opinions on others, other days just trying to please them — then you know that you’re out of line. If the way you live isn’t consistent with what you believe, then it’s wrong."
- Paul (Romans 14:22-23)
For Christ-followers: Could sharing the gospel be considered as "imposing your belief on others"? Yes, if the sharer expects the listener to immediately and completely agree. But that rarely happens, right? Just be patient and hopeful and keep praying --- it is God whose Word we are sharing, and it is God who will make it grow in people's hearts. (Practical tip: Think of a time when it was so hard for you to see the light yourself!) As someone who knows the Good News, your choice is to share or not. Those who hear you have a different choice: to accept God or not.
For everyone: Jesus tells us to love others as we love ourselves (Mark 12:31, Matthew 22:39). While we distinguish between love and respect, ultimately God is calling us to treat ourselves and each other in the same (good) way.
It's amazing how something I've heard since childhood is still fresh to me; I still have a long way to go. Below are some practical tips for treating others (and ourselves) with respect --- not because any one of us deserves it, but because of God, who respects us enough to give us our freedom. :)
May our relationships be filled with respect. Remember that it goes both ways --- giving and receiving --- and we can take our cue from God Himself.