This is a follow up to my intro in part 1 (which according to my friend Josh, sounded grouchy).
If someone is hoping I’m going to pull out the verse in Habbakuk 13:8 that says, “Any container that can be reused or returned to it’s natural form should. The punishment for not doing so is death,” I’m sorry to disappoint you but that’s not the verse I’m preaching on today.
I’d rather pull a few phrases of Paul, “Everything is permissible for me, but not everything is beneficial,” and “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God,” and finally, “Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak.”
First of all I want to point out that my desire to argue that Recycling is Biblical does not come from a point of condemning those who do not currently recycle. We are not bound by the law anymore and therefore my goal is not to place this as the 11th commandment, but rather to simply argue that it is worth considering recycling as opposed to not recycling as the more “Christ-like” thing to do. When Paul says “Everything is permissible for me,” he is exclaiming the fact that we don’t live under the law, but then he points out it is not all beneficial. In light of that I’ll ask, what is better for you and your great grand children, recycling or not?
Whatever you do, you are to do it for the glory of God. Now, you well know that that does not mean that we are to lie and cheat to the glory of God. There are some things that given the option (between lying and telling the truth) one is clearly not as glorifying, or not glorifying at all. Currently, as it relates to recyclable products in your home, there are two options. You have the opportunity to recycle those items, contributing to a more sustainable world, and not recycling. You’ve got taking care of God’s green earth (recycling, composting, using less trash and less gas, gardening, etc) and then you take not doing those things (draining resources, creating tons of trash, etc). I’m not sure it’s too difficult to argue that one is more God glorifying then the other.
And, last but not least, you have your weaker brother here. There is no law binding you to recycling. There was no law keeping Paul from eating meat. But Paul was willing to sacrifice the exercise of his freedom, so that he did not become a stumbling block for his weaker brother who felt recycling was so important it was almost a sin not to do it. One might choose to recycle, not because they are selfish, nor because they have been compelled by the evidence of the benefits of recycling, nor because of the Scriptures, but simply because they see the trauma it causes their brother in Christ when they don’t recycle.
-your weaker brother