“For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision” ~ Galatians 2:14
“And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law” ~ 1 Corinthians 9:20-21
There were times as a child when I noticed, what at the time, I considered favoritism by mother. Now I know, favoritism generally meant that my mom was just tired and didn’t notice something. Maybe my brother got to go out with friends and I couldn’t. I’d ask my mom, “How come Wesley can do that and I can’t?!” Maybe my sister gets to watch what she wanted on TV and I couldn’t. Id ask, “How come she can watch what she wants?!”
I can imagine the Apostle Peter asking this as question as the Apostle Paul called him out for withdrawing from the Gentiles whenever the Jews came around as described in Galatians 2. Paul pointed how that Peter in withdrawing from the Gentiles, “But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the Truth of the Gospel” (Galatians 2:14).
Some people may find this evaluation of character hypocritical since Paul later states, to the Jews he became as a Jew and to Gentiles he became as a Gentile (1 Corinthians 9:20-21).
The difference couldn’t be more significant. One story was of a man who walked in the truth of the Gospel and the other didn’t at the time. We can pretend intentions do not matter in ministry, but they absolutely do. Furthermore, one example showed a withdraw from fellowship and the other, Paul, showed an attraction towards fellowship.
Although similar actions, the placement of heart was entirely different and speaks volumes to how we minister as we go into the world. Do your walk reflect the truth of the Gospel, or does it reflect fear of identity with Christ? Only one is righteous in the eyes of the Lord and it is important to choose wisely in ministry.
If the question becomes, “Why can so and so do it and I can’t?” there needs to be a moment of reflection and redirect this question to “how can I more effectively live my life for the Gospel of Jesus Christ?”
“All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not” ~ 1 Corinthians 10:23