“So do not let your good be spoken of as evil.”
~Romans 14:16 (NRSV).
Eating is the ancient context, but we can apply this principle to anything we do that has influence, and namely negative influence. The Apostle Paul is saying, don’t expose a good thing we might want to do, so it will gain ill-repute because of insensitive timing or application, which is not love.
Love finds good basis in respecting what others believe, besides what we believe.
It is not good to do anything that causes grief—no matter how pure, or sincerely meant, it is in our eyes. This way, we gravitate for, and toward, the weaker (situational) one. The person in the more vulnerable situation is never to be disadvantaged.
This is respect at a Kingdom (of God) level; to place another’s philosophy—for the period of contact we have with them—ahead of our own.
Respect at a Kingdom level is love.
The Good Must Be Protected
The good we do is only good if it remains good.
If we send fresh bread out into the rain it’ll be ruined in a short time; good for no further use than garbage. So, instead, why don’t we keep it stored where we can come back to it tomorrow and enjoy it as food then?
What we do, or have to offer, has little use in the wrong situations or at untimed events. It would be better to keep it inside and out of harms way until it can be positioned correctly.
Love – the Binding Agent for Life
Love is the supreme test for everything. It doesn’t matter what use a thing or concept is if it’s devoid of love. This was Paul’s point to the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 12–14.
Without love, the good things we do, brought into being without thought for others, are soaked in the extreme downpour of worthlessness.
What we do will always be judged as it applies to our situations, not of our intentions.
This is because love is what makes the ingredients of life bind together to make good bread in the first place. Without love, the mix doesn’t develop and when it’s exposed to the oven to be baked, it’s going to make a nasty tasting bread that won’t rise.
Respect – A Form of Love
When we meet with others and have the sensitivity to shelve what in other situations would be fitting, but in this case not, we deal them a personal respect that remits love, for their thoughts and feelings are within our heart.
Being in the belly of God’s will is considering others’ requirements first.
© 2011 S. J. Wickham.