Making Biblical Decisions: Handling Differences with Biblical Love – February 2, 2024

On many things, Scripture is clear on the Christian’s position to stand side by side with God. The Christian need not wonder about God’s view of adultery, theft, or murder. Yet, throughout life, every Christian faces decisions that fall into unclear categories. In these issues, Scripture neither affirms nor condemns these situations.

Unfortunately, Scripture’s lack of clarity has not stopped well-meaning believers from taking up arms on both sides of these issues. Throughout the years, Christians debated whether smoking or alcohol consumption should be classified as a sin. In some Christian circles, the debate surrounds the morality of women wearing pants or other “revealing” clothing. As children’s sports encroach into Sunday, Christians debate whether Christian families should participate. I can recall conversations surrounding specific genres of music, going to the movie theatre, and even what particular version of the Bible individuals chose to read. Scripture does not present black and white “thou shalt not” solutions to these issues. Instead, these issues reside in the gray.

As Christians face these issues, they often find themselves ill-equipped to make biblical decisions. As a result, they then move to emotion and reason. Unfortunately, unwilling to acknowledge that they have no biblical basis for their choices, they resort to proof-texting their decisions and inevitably rip Scripture out of its context and begin to say things that God never said. Armed with proof texts and high emotion, they start to battle and cast judgment and disdain on all who disagree. 

Yet, God has given us everything we need for life and godliness in His Word, so we need not resort to proof-texting and emotion for our decisions. Instead, we must faithfully seek the principles of God’s Word to respond with godly intention instead of emotional reaction in these moments. Our goal in biblical decision-making is to live intentionally instead of reacting. In short, we must learn how to handle differences with biblical love.

The challenge to address gray issues is not a modern challenge. From its founding, the Church faced contention and disagreement over these issues. As we read the New Testament, we discover that these gray issues threatened to split at least two churches: the Church in Rome and the Church in Corinth. In both cases, culture forced Christians to make decisions regarding these gray issues. In both cases, Christians found fellow believers on both sides of the issue. And in both cases, all of them thought they were right, and others were sinning. I would encourage you to pause and read Romans 14 and 1 Corinthians 8.

Over the next few weeks, we will work through these chapters to help us address gray issues with grace and humility. We will discover that we can disagree on some issues and still enjoy glorious unity. And we will discover that, in some cases, two Christians can come to two opposite conclusions, and both be right before God. Yet, unity is predicated on humility and love. So, in the next few weeks, I would encourage you to honestly examine your heart and repent of any pride that manifests itself through this conversation. Through this, may God grow our church in gracious biblical unity.