Inspired by 1 Corinthians 10:23-11:1
“If I partake with thankfulness, why should I be denounced because of that for which I give thanks? So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:30-31 (NRSV)
Arguments abound between Christians over what constitutes acceptable behavior and morality codes for believers. Some assert that those who bear Christ’s name and serve as his ambassadors on earth must avoid even the appearance of sin and worldliness. Others assert that Christ’s grace covers all our sins so what we do doesn’t matter.
The truth, of course, lies somewhere in the middle.
As those who bear Christ’s name, we do indeed represent him here on earth, and—rightly or wrongly—our actions and behaviors will be interpreted by others as reflecting the will and commandments of God. Therefore, what we do matters. At the same time, however, Jesus was never very concerned with what the religious establishment of his time decreed as acceptable behavior. He frequently reinterpreted Holy Writ in new ways that disregarded strict adherence to the letter of the law in favor of recognizing the dignity of every human being. He prioritized the love and care of others over one’s personal purity and reputation. His message was that God’s grace is indeed greater than our sin, and we are saved by his grace alone.
We who bear Christ’s name are called to reflect God’s grace in all we say and do. This allows for much greater freedom than morality codes and acceptable behavior checklists permit. But all we say and do must glorify God, which means words and actions that harm, exploit, denigrate, or in any way diminish the dignity of another human being are expressly prohibited.
God in Christ came to save the world through love and grace, not strict behavioral codes. We who bear his name and follow his ways are called to demonstrate those same values. Let your words and actions reflect the love and grace that Christ showed to all he encountered, and worry not about how the world perceives you.
Let us pray. God of grace and mercy, you uphold the dignity of all your people. Grant us the courage to live lives of radical grace, that the people of our time can tangibly experience your love. Through Christ our Lord, Amen.