At the Council of Jerusalem, Paul had brought the Apostles around to agreeing that for a Christian, circumcision was no longer necessary. But in today’s reading we see him going against his convictions. He had Timothy circumcised so the young man could be more acceptable to converts from Judaism.
There might be a lesson for us there. Perhaps we are being made to see that that are times when to be kind or to be agreeable to people we need to bend our principles. Like, Jesus believed in keeping the Sabbath holy by avoiding work, but when the Apostles were hungry on a Sabbath, and they hand-shucked some corn, he went along with it, saying, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.”
There are times when parents need to go along with new ideas of adult children, even when that goes against their principles. When my sister and her husband had a daughter who made a show of leaving the church and getting married by a lady preacher, it hurt them immensely, but they attended the wedding.
I had an Irish priest friend who pushed his principles too far. He said that because of all the evil England had showered on Ireland, Irish boys should not have helped save England from the Nazis. He said, “No, they shouldn’t. Don’t you see, it’s a matter of principle.” Baloney.