We live in a day and age where everyone has a platform to share their opinion.
News and information hit us at a rapid rate 24 hours a day 7 days a week non-stop. There is really no break from the information avalanche that bombards us from all angles and at all times of the day. From breaking news that at times isn’t so urgent, to the latest celebrity who passed away or is getting a divorce, to our favorite political and health experts showering us with advice on whether to wear a mask or not, who to vote for, and what the latest political scandal is to every other imaginable item that they think is news worthy. The frenzy of information (and misinformation), news, and opinions come like a non-stop tidal wave.
All this information coupled with many differing beliefs complicated by social media which allows us to openly share our beliefs, views, and opinions freely. While others are citing or stating how they think the world should behave and act around the clock. We have so many differing thoughts and views, and liberal and conservative belief systems collide head-on.
This creates tension and disagreement from time to time, or as in our current situation much of the time.
So what are believers to do when we do not agree or see eye to eye with other believers on political views, our differences on how a certain passage of Scripture was meant to be interpreted, or what Jesus actually meant when He taught on a controversial subject?
I think it’s fair to say the majority of us struggle with this question or have struggled with this question. I can only speak for myself, and I will openly admit I have not always handled this dilemma with the grace I should have. However, if we can humble ourselves and openly and honestly examine this question together. I think we can reach a point of mutual understanding, and actually achieve peace even though we have differing beliefs.
Let’s start at the very beginning and build on the basics. The points we all agree on, the basic tenants of our faith. Every believer I know agrees that God created the heavens and the earth and all that is in them. That man sinned and rebelled against our Creator separating mankind from God. That God sent His One and only Son, Jesus the Messiah, to rescue fallen mankind by living a perfect, sin free, life and was crucified on a cross, He died, was buried, and rose from the dead on the third day. Lastly, we believe that God will restore His creation once and for all in eternity where there will be no more sin, suffering, or death.
Knowing we will disagree on some points – Let’s keep God’s plan of salvation the main point of focus in our discussions. Everything else is minor in comparison.
We will disagree on some of the details within our main beliefs. Did God create the earth in a literal seven day week? Was Jesus equally God and equally man? Is the rapture going to be pre, mid, or post tribulation? There are many other beliefs believers disagree with in the Bible, but the basic beliefs we share and accept (the ones listed a few paragraphs above this one) is what allows us to be in the family of God (John 1:12), and should be the main focus of our time, effort, and discussion.
Fortunately, we see in the Scriptures that even Jesus’s closest followers disagreed and argued on the way they thought things should be. James and John wanted to sit at Jesus left and right side in His kingdom. They tried to keep the little children from coming to Jesus. They doubted Jesus time after time even though Jesus did amazing miracles right in front of them! At times their disagreements were so strong they broke company from one another (Acts 15:36-41). They struggled to see Jesus for who He was and did not focus on the main points of the faith and at times we do the same.
Friends, if Jesus’ closest friends struggled with beliefs and opinions on matters of His ministry. Isn’t it ok if we have some struggles agreeing with the way things should be? We have a privilege the early believers didn’t. We are able to look back over the course of history and see ‘some’ of what unfolded during Jesus’ life and ministry. There is a lot we didn’t see and of the stuff we are able to see we struggle to comprehend and agree on what Jesus meant or the authors of the Bible meant for us today, and that’s ok.
The main thing we need to focus on is Jesus loved us enough to die for our sins and save us, and that same self-sacrificing love is extended to others. Even if they don’t share our same views and beliefs on politics, the way church should be done, and what Jesus really meant when He said or taught on this or that topic.
If the righteous are scarcely saved… (1 Peter 4:18) shouldn’t we be using our time and energy to help each other draw closer to the LORD and not worry so much about whether we have the rest of this short life of ours figured out to the nth degree?
Just something to think about as we interact with one another and occasionally disagree with our brothers and sisters in Christ from time to time. We can agree to disagree with grace and humility, but let’s focus on the main points that we all share to unify our hearts on God’s plan of salvation and work with one another throughout the days, weeks, months, and hopefully years ahead to bring many others into God’s saving grace!
Until we meet again – love like Jesus!