Love versus Pride
I noticed a disturbing result of my health research: pride.
“Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth.” (1 Corinthians 8:1)
My health research affected how I looked at myself and others. When I served my children homemade yogurt and whole-grain sourdough bread for breakfast, I began to look down on the mother who feeds her children sugar-laden breakfast cereal. At the grocery store, I looked with disdain at the shopping cart loaded with processed food.
The Lord wants my heart to overflow with love, not facts on the danger of high fructose corn syrup. He wants me to share the joy of the Lord with my fellow shoppers at the grocery store, not criticize their food choices. While I may choose to eat or not eat certain foods, I need to remember that those are preferences—not convictions.
If the Lord calls me to serve Him in a place where my preferred foods are not available, will I refuse to go? Jesus told his disciples, “And into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you.” (Luke 10:8) If I can't eat raw milk, real butter, and freshly-ground whole wheat flour, will it really matter in eternity? But it will matter if my heart is lifted up in pride and I refuse to demonstrate love. “Charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up.” (1 Corinthians 13:4)
When I am a guest, I can cheerfully eat the food served to me even if it isn't what I typically eat. (Of course, there are exceptions for true dietary needs or allergies—I'm speaking here of preferences, not needs.)
Love will also keep me from looking with contempt at those whom I consider radical in their diet. Somehow I think I have found a good balance, and anyone more or less strict than I am is incorrect. When I roll my eyes at a friend's diet preference, I should remember that others may think my kefir culturing in a jar on my counter is equally bizarre.
Love will seek to understand another's dietary preferences or needs. It means not being offended when my diabetic friend chooses not to eat some food I have lovingly prepared. It means not forcing my guests to eat sourdough pizza when I know they are not accustomed to such food.
Love goes both ways—to the one whose diet I consider strict or lenient. “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” (John 13:35)
We will wrap up this series in the next post.
How does love affect your attitude toward others as it relates to the issue of health?