Despite Our Differences… (United We Stand? Part 2)

In the last post, we talked about what you can do amidst the insane events of the world today. To recap:

1. It’s OK to have a Different Opinion: There are a variety of reasons you think the way you do and so do other people. Empathize with them; picture yourself in their position.

2. Being Tolerant Doesn’t Necessarily Mean Being Supportive: You can be respectful and polite to someone without compromising your beliefs.

The last one, and surely, the “greatest of these…”

3. Act in Love

Paul said in Ephesians 4:1-3, “I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” We are supposed to strive for peace while being warriors for Christ. Jesus Christ’s preferred weapon was love. He hung out with the lowest of the low, with people who denied Him and His Father and disagreed with Him. Did He tell the prostitute that she was right and encourage more women to be prostitutes? Of course not. But did He tell her she was unloved and undeserving of love? Not at all.

When the shootings in Orlando happened at the nightclub, there was so much focus on the fact that this was a predominantly gay nightclub and suddenly the commentary became so much more about whether homosexuality was right or wrong, and not about the real issue: the loss of human life and the devastation of families who lost someone they love. No matter what you believe, there were parents who lost their children that day and those lives are not any less precious than yours or mine. Violence is wrong and supporting violence will never bring anyone to know Christ.

Remember a few years ago when Chick Fil A came under fire when the CEO said he thought marriage should be between a man and a woman? This was his opinion. He didn’t discriminate hiring people who were gay; he didn’t attend anti-gay rallies; he just professed an opinion. The response? A national news story and very public social media campaign about how Chick Fil A is a hate-filled organization. People boycotted the company and among certain circles, if you bought Chick Fil A, you, too were full of hate.

Fast forward to the aftermath of the Orlando nightclub shooting…which company opened Sunday and gave out free food to people who were in line to donate blood? That’s right…the same “hate-filled” company, Chick Fil A. That right there? That is love. That is loving your neighbor, despite their differences.

Speaking of love, why is it we show the most division among ourselves as believers? There are SO many different Christian denominations, it is hard to keep track of the differences. Many of these denominations have jokes about the other, but sometimes those jokes become less funny and it turns into a true distaste. Just because someone is a Christian does not mean that they will interpret the scripture the same way you do. You need to pray about wisdom in your own interpretation and that God will reveal His true meaning and purpose to you. Romans 14:1 says specifically, “Accept other believers who are weak in faith, and don’t argue with them about what they think is right or wrong.” Wow. We will never all agree…some of the most monumental, fantastic things in human history have come about from disagreements…but so have some of the worst. As a Christian, the best thing you can do is know what you believe, and stick to it; understand your story to better understand someone else’s and lastly, be the love you want to see in the world.

After all, if you do not act in love, how will you ever obey what Jesus discussed in Matthew as one of the great commandments: “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.” (Matthew 22:39) If you do not show, how will you ever show someone the love of Christ?

Journal Journey: Think about someone you just do not see eye-to eye with – a friend, a parent, a classmate. What is it you disagree with them on? What can’t you stand about them? Stop right now and pray for them. Maybe you want them to see a more Biblical perspective? Maybe you want them to stop being so judgmental? After you pray, think about what YOU do that could be considered judgmental to them. How can you show more love in your life to them?

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