In today’s reading we see that some Jews believe Paul is telling people, both Gentiles and Jews, that they do not have to follow the laws given to the people by Moses any longer. They only need to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ. To counter this perception, Paul participates in an ancient Jewish ritual of purification.
Now, in my opinion, to participate in this ritual would have been distasteful to Paul. For him the relevancy of things like this were long gone. However, to avoid an unneeded and petty conflict with the Jews he went ahead and did it. To me one sign of a truly great person is when that person can subordinate his / her own wishes and desires for the sake of the Church. There is a time when compromise is not a sign of weakness but of strength.
Sometimes a church bickers over disagreements about minor issues or traditions. Like Paul, we should all remain firm on Christian fundamentals but flexible on non-essentials. Of course no one should violate his or her true convictions, but sometimes we need to exercise the gift of mutual submission for the sake of unity and for the sake of the Gospel.