A Note from Michael Gossett
Dr. Michael Gossett

“Consider the Other”

R.C. Sproul tells the story about a local golf course with a sign that reads, “The first rule of golf is consideration of others.” Golf has a way of training consideration toward others. Starting on the tee box, it is considerate not to talk during another person’s backswing. In the fairway, waiting for the person furthest away from the pin to hit first is considerate. On the green, it is considerate not to walk in the line of someone’s putt. If you hit out of the sand, it is considerate to rake the sand after your shot. These, among many other gentleman’s rules, are acts of consideration. In the context of liberty, consideration for others is the theme of Romans chapter 14.

We know we are not supposed to judge others, but is there more to it? Judgment is mostly understood with a negative connotation and rarely in the positive. Could there be more to the idea of judgment and judging others that we are missing in society today? Culture will tell you that judging others is never a good thing because, after all, who are you to judge? This sentiment is true. Who are we to pass judgment on others? However, we are called to have sound judgment when determining best practices, or friends to confide in, or roads to take or not to take, and battles to face or not to face. These are all positive ways in which sound judgments are helpful. Therefore, not all judgments are harmful. Judgment toward others is only harmful when it is tied to condemnation rather than being tied to edification. Edifying (sound) judgment can be very helpful in efforts to help others become more like Christ. But how is this displayed within the body as we are considerate toward others?

Romans 14:1-12 says, “Welcome anyone who is weak in faith, but don’t argue about disputed matters.  One person believes he may eat anything, while one who is weak eats only vegetables.  One who eats must not look down on one who does not eat, and one who does not eat must not judge one who does, because God has accepted him.  Who are you to judge another’s household servant? Before his own Lord he stands or falls. And he will stand, because the Lord is able to make him stand.  One person judges one day to be more important than another day. Someone else judges every day to be the same. Let each one be fully convinced in his own mind.  Whoever observes the day, observes it for the honor of the Lord. Whoever eats, eats for the Lord, since he gives thanks to God; and whoever does not eat, it is for the Lord that he does not eat it, and he gives thanks to God.  For none of us lives for himself, and no one dies for himself.  If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.  Christ died and returned to life for this: that he might be Lord over both the dead and the living.  But you, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or you, why do you despise your brother or sister? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God.  For it is written, ‘As I live, says the Lord, every knee will bow to me, and every tongue will give praise to God.’  So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.”

Even the Apostles were not immune to the effects of the difficulties of making adjustments for the sake of consideration. The apostle Peter struggled with the idea of Christian liberty in Acts 10:9-16. In particular, the discussion that Peter was struggling with were certain foods that had been prohibited under Old Testament ceremonial law were now clean. The question of consideration is, “How should he relate to a weaker brother whose conscience was bound by rules with which God never intended to bind him?” Does this give precedence for the mature Christian to give up his liberty for the sake of the other or should the stronger Christian indulge in Christian liberty regardless of the feelings of another? Paul’s answer is yes and yes. The call for consideration is to every believer in Christ. We should work hard as brothers and sisters in Christ to put the needs of others before our own. This means that every individual has the calling to act first in the law of consideration toward others.

The problem arises when our convictions, whether about eating, (as the problem with Peter), or drinking, or vaccines, or school choice decisions, or what to wear to church, or what to sing in church, or what to teach in church become the reason we choose to love or not to love someone. These considerations should not become the reason we gather with God’s people or don’t gather with God’s people. Everyone saved by grace through faith has an opinion or a conviction that seems godly, as revealed in Scripture. There are fundamental doctrines that we cannot “agree to disagree on.” These basic truths are clearly revealed by Scripture.  These are central doctrines such as how to be saved, who God is, who Jesus is, who the Holy Spirit is, and the inerrancy of Scripture to only name a few. Most matters that require consideration are matters of the conscience. We should understand the rules of the conscience before we contemplate how to deal in consideration with one another.

In an election year, many considerations are haphazardly thrown out even at the expense of being a good witness of Christ. I have heard people say, “There is no way you can vote for that man and be a Christian.” I have also heard, “There is no way you can vote for this party and be a Christian.” This leads to what Paul warns us about in the church about judging others (in a condemning way) or despising others (in a hateful way). Paul says that if one person decides they are able to eat certain foods, we must not despise them. Even if your position is correct, despising or judging another person who disagrees with you has no place in the church. We can apply these words of Paul to every area of disagreement in the church. It is not restricted to your political views or choices but also goes beyond to the way we view music, the way we view dress codes, and the way someone spends their money. What we should realize is that when someone is passionate about a choice they have made according to their conscience, it is not at the expense of the gospel or at the expense of their faith. As soon as we realize that about one another, the easier it is to be considerate of one another.

When there is a disagreement among us, that is okay. Disagreements are reminders that we are all humans in need of a wisdom that we do not possess but could only pray to obtain. It is a reminder that we all have wants and desires that are not innately wicked or against the church. It is a matter of the conscience, a matter of preference, and maybe even a matter of conviction. If one brother in freedom wants to wear a hat to church or if a lady wants to wear pants (instead of a dress) we shouldn’t condemn them. We are not at liberty to decide the spiritual maturity of that brother or sister based upon the limiting or expression of Christian liberty. However, what we as individuals must ask ourselves is, “How am I to be considerate toward others in the church?”

This is the point at which we can now put a nail in the coffin. “If someone is (you fill in the blank), they need to be more considerate of how others feel about them.” This draws a full circle back to the original point that Paul is making in Romans 14. Our job is to outpace consideration toward others. In essence, it would be inconsiderate of us to call out the inconsideration of others. What a puzzling thought. Here is where I have been challenged personally. As soon as I call out others to be considerate of my choices of conscience, I forfeit my consideration, even if I am correct in my position. What a tangled web I weave in my mind.

What is the point? Paul is expressing the first rule of golf, “Be considerate of others.” I am praying for my own heart in this because this should not just be the first rule of golf, it should also be the first rule of my marriage. I cannot imagine an unhealthy and fruitless marriage that seeks out to be more considerate to the other person. I am not saying it will eliminate problems, I am just saying it will be healthy and fruitful. The same is applied to how I deal with co-workers, how I deal with people at the grocery store, how I treat other drivers on Broadway at 6:00pm. Our families, our marriage, our church, our communities would all be better and more like Christ if we consider others before ourselves.

Paul used Jesus as an example of this in Philippians 2:1-4. He wrote, “If, then, there is any encouragement in Christ, if any consolation of love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any affection and mercy,  make my joy complete by thinking the same way, having the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.  Do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves.  Everyone should look not to his own interests, but rather to the interests of others.”

Thank you for being a loving, kind, and considerate church. This is one of the greatest witnesses to the love of Christ in your life.

Most Midweek activities are cancelled for March 13, as people are away on Spring Break Mission Trips.  Please be in prayer for all of the groups as they share Jesus in areas both near and far!  

Our Midweek Schedule will resume on Wednesday, March 20. We have something for all ages! For more information go to GABC.ORG/mdwk


This week, we continue our study in the book of Hebrews and will look specifically at Hebrews 5:1-10, and we will be learning about a greater priest. Here is the text so you can read the passage and begin to pray for God to speak to us through His word.

5 For every high priest taken from among men is appointed in matters pertaining to God for the people, to offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins. 2 He is able to deal gently with those who are ignorant and are going astray, since he is also clothed with weakness. 3 Because of this, he must make an offering for his own sins as well as for the people. 4 No one takes this honor on himself; instead, a person is called by God, just as Aaron was. 5 In the same way, Christ did not exalt himself to become a high priest, but God who said to him,

You are my Son;
today I have become your Father,

6 also says in another place,

You are a priest forever
according to the order of Melchizedek.

7 During his earthly life, he offered prayers and appeals with loud cries and tears to the one who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. 8 Although he was the Son, he learned obedience from what he suffered. 9 After he was perfected, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him, 10 and he was declared by God a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek. (Hebrews 5:1-10, CSB)

Begin reading, praying and anticipating for the Lord to teach us about the sympathy of Christ and how that affects you and me today.  

You are loved and prayed for!

Michael Gossett