Forget about deciding what’s right for each other. Here’s what you need to be concerned about: that you don’t get in the way of someone else, making life more difficult than it already is. — Romans 14:13 (The Message)
When Paul wrote “forget about deciding what’s right for each other,” he was addressing Christians who were making judgments and telling others how they should be living. We religious people have a pretty good history of that. And if that doesn’t make someone else’s life more difficult, I don’t know what does.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned about parenting it’s that there comes a time when you have to back away from pontificating rules to your children. You give up the role of pope and take up the role of companion. You listen without judging and talk without demanding. You help them find their own path and, in doing so, discover new things on your own path. You share your experiences with them, but also value the experiences they share with you.
Parenting is difficult because it’s a humbling experience. It’s easier living thinking you’re right, and that you have a right to tell younger people they should be right like you. Parenting is rewarding because you have young companions who can learn from you and who can also open up a broader side of life.
The measure of a faith community lies less in its theology and more in how its people treat each other. If it’s a place where we can value each other’s journey, then I want to be a part of it.