One man esteemeth one day above another; another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. –Romans 14:5 KJV
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. –Romans 14:17 BSB
It all started out innocently enough. I’m not known for my cooking skills, but I still have to eat, right? See, I was determined to master the art of “cooking” grits – the instant kind that comes in little packets. (And yes, I can see and hear all you “I make everything from scratch” people clutching your pearls and gasping. #DontJudgeMe).
Anyway, I felt like I’d finally mastered it. Packet of instant grits, milk, butter and sugar. Perfection! When I celebrated my success – and posted a photo of my delicious dish – on Facebook, I inadvertently unleashed a torrent of comments from friends eager to applaud my recipe – and from others eager to school me on the best way to make grits.
You see, everyone wasn’t in agreement with using “instant” grits (apparently the best way to make them is to cook them). Still others let me know in no uncertain terms that milk had no place in the equation. Still others advocated for adding cheese, and a few commented on the tastiness of grits with shrimp. The most insistent commenters, however? Those who emphatically and unequivocally told me true Southerners do not eat grits with sugar—grits are made to be eaten with salt.
The post has been up for over a week, yet the comments are still rolling in. Everyone’s having a great time taking sides and advocation for his/her own way of cooking and eating grits. Reading the comments, I couldn’t help but think of the early church, and the sound doctrine the Apostle Paul imparted to early Christian grappling with similar (albeit less comical) issues.
Should Christians eat meat, or only vegetables? Is one day more sacred than another, or are all days the same? And what about meat offered to idols??
Anointed by the Holy Spirit, the Paul was used by God to get the saints to focus on what was truly important. Refraining from passing judgment on those with differing opinions was important. Taking your brother and sister’s spiritual maturity into account when exercising personal liberties is important – we should never do anything to cause one another to stumble.
Additionally, the saints were to keep in mind the fact that God’s kingdom wasn’t centered on food, anyway! Being a citizen of the kingdom was all about experiencing the righteousness, peace and joy made available through the Holy Spirit.
Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty (2 Corinthians 3:17). I rejoice in the fact those of us who are in Christ have been delivered from the power of darkness (Colossians 1:12). Sin no longer has dominion over us, because we’re not under the law anymore, we are under grace (Romans 6:14). As brothers and sisters in Christ we can follow after the things that make for peace (Romans 14:19) and “agree to disagree” about non-doctrinal issues. I’m glad we can do that, because grits are better with sugar!