Tag Archives: our rights

Romans 10-16; I’ve Got My Rights

Our country is in trouble these days because many, many people are fighting for their “rights” at the expense of the “rights” of others. Personally, I think we’ve pushed it to the point of insanity.

Paul has something to say about “rights.” And I think it’s a timely word for us in 2018.

Paul says we all have rights. We have the right to eat meat or not eat meat. We have the right to treat one day holy, and we have the right to treat every day the same. We have the right to drink wine, and the right to abstain. I’d go so far as to say we have a right to wear dress clothes to church, and a right to worship in torn jeans and dirty sneakers. We have a right to prefer hymns, and a right to enjoy a rocking praise song.

Paul says this about our rights. “Let’s stop passing judgment on one another.” (14:13) But here’s the kicker: he goes on to say, “instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way.” He’ll go on to talk about why setting aside our right to do certain things is the right thing to do.

“But,” you might argue. “I have my rights. If someone has a problem with that, it’s their problem not mine.” I’d like you to show me a verse that supports that argument. I honestly don’t think you’ll find one. From what I read here in Romans, I think God is saying it’s very much our problem.

If you’re worried about your rights, you are focused inwardly. Remember, this life as a child of God is no longer about you. It’s about that unsaved person sitting in the cubicle next to you at work, or living next door. Before you exercise your rights, think about how that action will look to someone who doesn’t know your Savior. Think about that weak Christian who is struggling with sin in regard to what you  perceive as your “right.” Paul goes so far as to say that if someone is distressed because of your exercising your right to do something, “you are no longer acting in love.” (14:15) And doesn’t Jesus tell us love is what identifies us as His?

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men…. It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother to fall. (14:17-21)

I believe our churches, and our nation, would be healthier if we laid our rights at the feet of Jesus, and truly lived as servants of God, setting aside our “rights” for love of Him who gave Himself for us, and for our neighbor who needs Him.

Proverbs 17-20; Relationship Advice From Solomon

Maybe it’s because I have a couple of challenging relationships in my life at the moment, but these proverbs spoke to me today about how we are to treat each other, who we are to be in relationships. I would challenge you to read these chapters and look for examples, even if there is no discord in your life right now. Because there will be before long. No one is immune.

17:14 jumped out at me first:

Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam; so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out.

It just seems that, in our modern society, people look for reasons to be upset. Someone has stepped on my “rights” or hurt my feelings, so I’m going to do what’s best for me and make a big deal out of it, no matter who I hurt. Solomon seems to be advising against that.

Then I backed up and read verse 13:

If a man pays back evil for good, evil will never leave his house.

Never is a long time, my friend.

There are other verses that spoke to me, like 17:27:

A man of knowledge uses words with restraint, a man of understanding is even-tempered.

Then Solomon goes on in the next verse to say:

Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue.

‘Nuff said.

18:2 says:

A fool finds no pleasure in understanding, but delights in airing his own opinion.

I don’t watch talk shows for this very reason. I don’t enjoy debating with people whose agenda it is to get their point across, without trying to understand another’s. But if I read verses like this and think of that opinionated person who is making my life difficult, I need to read it again. God’s not talking to me about SuzieQ down the street. God is speaking to me, about me. And I certainly don’t want to be the one who is guilty of being opinionated without understanding. I need to read all of these proverbs and remember that I’m not responsible for another’s behavior. I am responsible for mine, however.

These chapters have me asking myself, on what do I base relationships? And are those people closest to me encouraging me in my walk with the Lord?

Can people recognize the wisdom which comes from God in me? Or do they recognize me as a fool because of my tongue, my attitude, my dealings with all kinds of people?

I’d like to repeat my challenge to you today, and encourage you to read these proverbs in light of your relationships. Sometimes relationships are challenging because WE aren’t being the people WE need to be.

May God bless you as you seek wisdom, as you grow in knowledge, and as you apply these truths to your life. And may God be glorified in all our relationships.