Sometimes it’s best to keep our opinions to ourselves. Once we had a new family, which believed in strictly following the dietary laws of the Old Testament, visit our church. They told me about their unique diet; and I said it was fine, as long as they didn’t spread their ideas among the people at our church. The family agreed. But later that night, this family tried to persuade another family at our church to follow their diet. This caused some problems at our church, and eventually the new family left.

There is a time to stand up for what we believe in, and there is a time to keep our beliefs to ourselves. How do we know which is right? Here are several pointers: first, if a certain belief or opinion we hold is not found in Scripture, then we should be careful about trying to persuade others about it; second, if we find a Scripture which seems to contradict what others are practicing, we should make sure our interpretation is right before sharing it with others (that means we should look at the verse or verses in context); third, we should be careful about making a big issue of minor things; fourth, if our position is right, then we should humbly bring the matter to a pastor and seek his counsel before sharing our ideas with people in church; finally, we have to concentrate on winning souls to Christ. This is the most important thing of all. If a matter distracts people from coming to hear the gospel, then it is being given too much emphasis, and we need to let it go.

You don’t have to follow a special diet or sell Amway and Tupperware to cause problems at your church. All it takes is a few disagreeable words shared with the wrong person at the right time. Do you have an issue with something that is going on in your church? First, ask yourself, is it Biblical? Then ask, is it really important? Finally, ask, how will it affect the gospel? Unless absolutely necessary, learn to keep your negative opinions to yourself, and you will avoid saying something that may hurt you or the people in your church later.

Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder