“Let us be one.” In the Gospel of John, Jesus prayed that those who follow him be one like God and Christ are one. Yet we know that human nature eventually creeps into the equation and inherently flawed human beings, with incomplete views and understandings of God, disagree over how to relate and work for the divine.
The question that Christians have struggled with since the beginning is how do we relate to one another when we inevitably disagree? I want to share some thoughts that can lead to better understanding and mutual Kingdom benefit.
In an ever increasing politically divided world it is difficult to have a civil conversation. No longer is it “I disagree with you,” it is “How dare you believe this way?” This divisive way of looking at a contrasting idea vilifies the person and often leads to the loss of the relationship. While conversations should be about listening and learning from one another, most dialogues are about trying to win a debate.
The language we use in disagreeing is so important because it is vital that we disagree with others in a way that we both maintain dignity and is kind towards our Christian brothers and sisters. The church must not mirror our political culture. At minimum, kindness should be at forefront of our disagreements.
We do not own the truth. None of us. We all “See through a glass darkly.” Even when we gaze upon scripture, all of us have differences of opinions about how scripture is to be interpreted and applied. In Biblical Interpretation, no one owns the truth. Are we willing to learn from others who have experienced God in a way we haven’t? Are we to learn nothing from those who have experienced God through different circumstances?
- Big Picture Thinking
What is Kingdom work? What are our higher aspirations? We live in a broken world where we have been invited to be a part of redeeming and reconciliation. Are we really going to let theological differences distract us from our higher call and purpose? What is important to us?
We need to create bigger tents and longer tables working with all those who claim Christ as savior. While there are monumental disagreements in our theological viewpoints, they are not so big that they can’t be overcome for the Kingdom.
Christians on the right and on the left can agree that we live in a broken world that needs to hear the good news of Jesus Christ. If we can agree on this, then it is imperative that we work together to send the good news of the gospel to the ends of the Earth.