MaxPC wrote:JimFoxvog wrote:gcdonner wrote:It has always been a point of sadness to me, that those who were persecuted have often become persecutors themselves. I have seen this in the Mennonite circles even in our own days and in Baptist circles as well. I suspect it is not unique to these denominations, only that I have experienced it in these circles.
Since becoming a Mennonite, I have become more aware of persecution in the church of those who do not conform in many outward cultural expressions. Looking at Romans 14, I wonder how this can be defended.
When brothers and sisters make different choices as to what to eat, drink, celebrate or wear, they do it to honor the Lord. I pray that we could obey "let us no longer criticize [or pass judgement on] one another." I pray that we would no longer despise one another. I'm concerned that people may use "never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother" to criticize and pass judgement on one another, hindering them and placing stumbling blocks.
My experience can give one example: We have practices such as abstaining from meat and fasting during Friday's in Lent and Good Friday. With this practice we also have exceptions to the rules such as it only applies to ages 18-59 and does not apply to anyone with illness or disability.
Even with the exceptions clearly explained every Lent, we still encounter self-appointed "parish police" who want to know why someone is having a hamburger on Friday or something similar. These types of individuals "lean legalistic" in all the areas of their lives. For some it's a form of OCD or other emotional illness; for others it's a bad case of busy-bodyitis.
My experience tells me that every fellowship and denomination has people who do this.
The pastors/elders/deacons can do some interventions to keep the whole situation from becoming a stumbling block. In the case of those with emotional issues, the fellowship realizes it's a situation that calls for compassion for the one who is sick (unless a threat is made).
We take each case individually and go from there. I don't know if that's of any help but that's what we've experienced.
Maybe sharing scripture could help?:
1 Timothy 4:1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; 2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; 3 Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. 4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: