It goes in, it comes out

Fasting, The Orthodox Christian Way
Christ being tempted by the devil after fasting in the dessert for 40 days. (Notice how He does NOT eat the bread and then ‘pray off the crop’.

In ladies’ group this week (we are still studying the book: Living without Hypocrisy) we finished up the section on Repentance. SEVEN  pages of writings on the theme of repentance. We have another large section coming up on: Rest.

Shifting gears for a moment, there is a battle raging on social media between meat eaters, and plant eaters. The insults are creative: ‘corpse eaters!’… and completely the opposite of what it means to be a Christian. For some… many? engaged in this tit for tat when it comes to insults, the examples of Christ do not enter into their sphere of awareness because they are not Christians. what about those who claim to be Christian who are calling other people names?

The theme of repentance this week brought up so much for which I am grateful. I struggle with not being able to participate in the seasonal, and weekly fasts. Yes, there are other ways to fast and I seek them out, but I keep it pretty much to myself that I am unable to participate in the food restrictions. I also believe that the items avoided during a fast are mostly what was decided upon by some ancient counsel. I’m ok with that. I have not seen any specifics from the gospels and whenever I read that, Jesus fasted it seems that He went without food altogether. I am weak. perhaps at some point in the future I will be able to do such a thing but for now, I do what I can.

This post, however, is not about my limitations. This blog post is to beg those who practice a certain way of eating to not call other people names of think yourself superior to someone else because they eat something you do not. THAT is very clearly written about in the bible in more than one place. Let’s take a look at those scriptures.

Matt: 15:18 17“Do you not yet realize that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then is eliminated? 18But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these things defile a man. 19For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, and slander.…

Acts 10:13 …12It contained all kinds of four-footed animals and reptiles of the earth, as well as birds of the air. 13Then a voice spoke to him: “Get up, Peter, kill and eat!” 14“No, Lord!” Peter answered. “I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.”…

Poor, Peter is so bound to his legalistic views of what is clean and unclean he argues with God when told he must eat. As if God is some how making a mistake. We view this in two ways: one the Gentiles are to be accepted as brothers and sister in Christ, and literally all food is deemed edible by God. The old restrictions are gone.

More important than what we eat is what comes out of our mouth. More important than repenting for eating meat on a Wednesday is that we love our neighbor and do not think of ourselves better than anyone else. There is NO justification for vilifying another person for the way they eat… NONE. Every time you call someone a name for eating something you would not, you are sinning.

God cares more about your heart than what is on your fork. He wants you to wash away the things which separate you form Him. he very clearly has said that food does not separate you from Him. What goes into your mouth doe snot defile you or break His heart. It is what comes out of your mouth that creates the chasm.

Crossing the chasm | Oracle BI Applications

Why do our words create this chasm?

When we have opinions, we are judging. When we judge, we are placing ourselves in the position of being demi-gods (little ‘g’). We are claiming to be superior to those around us. We are not. We are all made of dust and will fade away, but The One who made us never fades and only He can judge humanity.

As you walk through this life remember; none of us is better than anyone else. Love, not what we eat, is the most important thing in life. Love for one another, love for God, love for our enemies. Repent. Do not despair. God is good and gives us many opportunities for repentance.

‘Don’t be afraid, I’m a doctor, not a judge. I came into the world not to judge the world but to save it’ [John. 12, 47]