When I am with those who are weak, I share their weakness, for I want to bring the weak to Christ. Yes, I try to find common ground with everyone, doing everything I can to save some. (1 Corinthians 9:22 NLT)
Under the law of Christ-Paul did not think it necessary to observe the ceremonial commands of the law in relation to food (see his instructions in 10:27), but he did maintain the law of Christ (see Gal 6:2).
The weak Refers to Christians who felt tempted to regress to idolatrous practices (see 8:7; Rom 14:1).
When Paul said that, "I might win the weak" he demonstrated sensitivity to such believers, but he also desired that they mature in their faith (see 8:7–13).
When he said he wanted to be "all things to all people" Paul is not advocating syncretism or compromise of the gospel message. Rather, he is promoting a considerate evangelistic approach—one that accounts for different social circumstances, ethnicities, and religious convictions.
The KEY to Paul's ability to minister to so many people, and to get along with even his enemies is found in this verse. I have a difficult time doing what he advocates very often. I am sure anyone who reads this will agree with me that is difficult, but God would not have placed it in His Word if it weren't important, nor unattainable. What is the key?
"I try to find COMMON GROUND with everyone" This is so important in the kingdom of God. Paul tried to find common ground. Jesus always found common ground. The ones who always looked for differences, and ways to fight, and argue, debate, and make everyone uncomfortable were the Pharisees, the religious leaders. The very ones who crucified Jesus.
That same spirit and "air" of arguing and debating, severely impacts, and kills the influence of Jesus to so many people in our world today.
In the church, we argue. At work, we debate. At home, we fight. At school, we have drama. On Facebook, we cowardly attack people underhandedly, and behind a keyboard. The same goes with Twitter. And all the while, the schism between the church and the world grows larger. Because we have to prove that we are RIGHT.
What does God say about this? Let's look at a few verses:
Hebrews 12:14 "Strive for peace with everyone, and for holiness for without it no one will see God."
Proverbs 19:11 "Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense."
Proverbs 17:14 "The start of a quarrel is like a leak in a dam, so stop it before it bursts."
Romans 12:17-18 "Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone."
Proverbs 15:1 "A soft answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger."
Philippians 4:2 "Now I appeal to Euodia and Syntyche. Please, because you belong to the Lord, settle your disagreement"
Matthew 5:23-24 “So if you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God.
Proverbs 20:3 (MSG) It's a mark of good character to avert quarrels, but fools love to pick fights.
Proverbs 18:19 (ESV) A brother offended is more unyielding than a strong city, and quarreling is like the bars of a castle.
Philippians 2:3-4 (ESV) Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Philippians 2:14-16 (NLT) Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people. Hold firmly to the word of life; then, on the day of Christ’s return, I will be proud that I did not run the race in vain and that my work was not useless.
Your relationships can be sound, when you search for common ground!
"Lord, I do not want to be one who always argues and complains about everything. Nor do I want to be one who always seems to find something to fight about, or be mad about. In all of my relationships, help me to search for common ground, so that I can have sound relationships! In Jesus' name, amen!"