No two people on this earth agree about every single thing in life. We all bring our different ways of doing things, opinions and preferences, experiences, and understandings of the world to the table. And in doing so, some of us manage to coexist better than others who go full-on Hatfields and McCoys.
Thankfully believers have the Bible in their lives to determine absolute truth. It gives us something solid to base our lives on, helping us to know right and wrong. Even so, we humans still manage to be divided over even that. The same Book that tells us to love each other and even to pray for our enemies causes arguments, permanently fractured relationships, and even hatred.
The same Book that tells us to love each other and even to pray for our enemies causes arguments, permanently fractured relationships, and even hatred.Click to tweet
AM I SAYING IT’S THE BIBLE’S FAULT?
Absolutely not! The Bible is perfect, infallible. On the other hand, believers, while redeemed, are human. We still fall short, missing God’s mark. But also, we can do all things through Christ’s strength (Philippians 4:13), which means we possess the ability to get along and love each other as God commands.
We may disagree on the interpretation of a particular verse (or, heaven forbid, more than one). Even then, we can edify each other and live in harmony. To use a New Testament example, if someone views eating non-kosher foods as a sin, then for him, it is a sin (Romans 14:13-18)! And I can help that person lead a life glorifying to God by not pressuring him to eat non-kosher foods even though I may think it’s just fine to indulge in a little bacon every once in a while.
It’s true; we can’t all be right. But “a man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still,” as Benjamin Franklin said. If a person is truly seeking to understand the Bible and grow in his or her walk with Christ, the Holy Spirit will lead that person into wisdom and understanding.
But if we’re expecting the Holy Spirit to only work in the heart and mind of the person we disagree with, we’d better watch out. After all, “pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18). We need to examine our own hearts and pick the logs out of our own eyes before pointing out the speck in someone else’s eye (Matthew 7:5).
LEARNING FROM EACH OTHER
“Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend” (Proverbs 27:17). Learning to understand where other people are coming from and how they interpret Scripture can help us grow in our faith. Maybe it solidifies what we already believe, and we can better vocalize it and back it up (I Peter 3:15). Maybe the Holy Spirit humbles us and prompts us to change our views. Or, at the very least, we can demonstrate God’s love by listening to and accepting where someone is on his or her walk with God.
Disagree with each other. Go ahead. It’s both permissible and inevitable. But let’s do so in love, with the correct motivations of edification and personal growth and not forcing others to comply with our will as we live life together, united under Christ.
“Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.” Romans 14:19
Family Radio Staff