What do you do when you’re at a church gathering and someone makes political statements? Do you feel uneasy? Do you sense the temperature in the room start to rise? What if those political statements are viewpoints you tend to disagree with? Do you confront them? Do you disagree?
What do you do when someone expresses a contrasting view to your own, basing it in what you have heard is a conspiracy theory? Do you roll your eyes? Or maybe you don’t actually role your eyes, but in your mind you are.
Most importantly of all, perhaps, how do you feel about that other person? I’ve noticed that the other person, the one with whom I disagree, can take on a giant quality. And by that I mean the giant Goliath in the story of David and Goliath. And it is usually not because the other person has changed. Instead, it is our impression of the other person that changes. We allow negative thoughts and feelings about them to grow in our hearts and minds. We can start to caricature them. Saying they are always __________ (fill in the blank). And usually whatever we falsely believe they always are is usually demeaning toward them.
We live in a time and a society where there are a variety of issues about which Christians have strong opinions. To the point where Christians of one opinion question the authenticity of the Christianity of those who differ from them. For example, Christians who believe in young earth Creationism, the idea that God created the universe in six 24-hour days, might find it extremely difficult to accept the Christianity of those who believe God created the universe through evolutionary processes.
Guess what? We have people who hold to both views in our church. In your church, you most likely have people of both views too.
Or another example. Christians who believe that an LGBTQ lifestyle is compatible with Christianity might look down on Christians who believe that an LGBTQ lifestyle is sinful in God’s eyes.
Guess what? We have people who hold to both views in our church, and again, I suspect you have both in your church.
Or what about the president and politics? We have people in our church who are Republicans and we have people who are Democrats. How about you? My guess is that some of you are very conservative, while some are moderate, some progressive and some liberal.
Some of you believe the Bible is the literal word of God, while some believe it is a lot more complicated than that. Some you believe that speaking in tongues is severely lacking in the church, while some of you believe it is a hoax.
What are we to do with the fact that we disagree with one another about so many things?
The teachings of Jesus and the early church are filled with what are called the “one anothers.” In this week’s five-part series, we are going to look at how the “one another” statements in the New Testament relate how we handle current events. So check back in tomorrow!