"We say, 'Faith was reckoned to Abraham as righteousness.' How then was it reckoned to him? Was it before or after he had been circumcised? It was not after, but before he was circumcised. He received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised." - Romans 4:7-11
Few people are as cruel as parents can be to each other online. Ask a question in an online parenting forum about what and how to feed your baby, the best way to discipline your ten-year-old, which products to use in the home, and within minutes, you will become convinced, if you weren't already, that Satan has the world in his clutches.
Parents who criticize other parents usually are doing it because they love their own kids a lot and have made thoughtful, intentional, well-informed choices about how to raise them. When other people make other choices, they can wind up thinking that the reason must be that the other parents don't love their own kids as much.
But parents who think this way have fallen into the same trap that Paul is writing to the Romans about. Some of them had begun thinking that circumcision was an end in itself, that circumcising one's kids is how one loves God. It's like the angry online parents who claim that attachment parenting is the way one loves one's kid.
In fact, all those choices are simply ways that proceed from some parents' love for their children. Love comes first; the all-organic diet comes second. Or the highly-processed diet comes second. Parents who make either choice love their kids equally. Likewise, Paul argues that loving God comes first, and that circumcision is one way that some have chosen to show that love. Not being circumcised is another way. People who choose either option love — and are loved by — God equally. So as Paul says: everybody, lighten up. The specifics aren't important. The love is.
God, grant that I might love you so hard that love spills over even onto people who show it differently than I do. Amen.
Quinn G. Caldwell is a father, husband, homesteader and preacher living in rural upstate New York. His most recent book is a series of daily reflections for Advent and Christmas called All I Really Want: Readings for a Modern Christmas. Learn more about it and find him on Facebook at Quinn G. Caldwell.