East Coast Or West Coast (Romans 14:1-4)

In the academic world and workplace, there is a perception that a chasm exists between those who grew up and/or were educated on the east coast versus the west coast. Without delving into the stereotypes, which are likely familiar to many, these perceptions may even influence the way medicine is practiced. In my speciality of dermatopathology, there are distinct differences between diagnostic approaches and even terminology. While it usually does not impact patient care, it may indirectly bias the choice of consultants or even the hiring of other associates. I know of several medical groups who will only hire physicians who trained at a particularly prestigious east coast university. Similarly, when a diagnosis or treatment is rendered by a group that did not train in a similar location, it may lead to seeking additional consultation, simply to verify the diagnosis.

The Christian church has undergone many divisions since its birth on the Day of Pentecost. One of the earliest divisions arose over the eating of certain foods, as illustrated in this passage from the Book of Romans. 

Accept other believers who are weak in faith, and don’t argue with them about what they think is right or wrong. For instance, one person believes it’s all right to eat anything. But another believer with a sensitive conscience will eat only vegetables. Those who feel free to eat anything must not look down on those who don’t. And those who don’t eat certain foods must not condemn those who do, for God has accepted them. Who are you to condemn someone else’s servants? Their own master will judge whether they stand or fall. And with the Lord’s help, they will stand and receive his approval. 

Romans 14:1-4 (NLT)

Divisions will always occur because the Church is composed of imperfect people. We are prone to follow our own desires, like hiring or consulting with colleagues who trained in different geographic regions of our country. However, there are times when faithful people will have biases toward certain issues of the day. While these may not seriously impact our overall faith, it may lead to differences in the way we treat our brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ. Today’s divisive issues may not deal with the eating of certain foods but may focus upon the support of different political parties or politicians. It may focus upon the merit of receiving a vaccine during a pandemic. 

All Christian believers must support one another by honestly addressing and respecting our differences. There are no simple black and white solutions but often shades of gray. We must cling to our faith in God, rejoicing in our common bond through faith in belief in Jesus Christ.

Love and trust in the Lord; seek His will in your life.

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