Being right or being righteous?
With the burgeoning blogosphere and the runaway freight train called Facebook, many people have a voice all across the world wide web. Christians have taken up this opportunity as well, but sometimes I wonder if we are hurting the church or shooting it in the foot. Please know, when I say the church, I am not talking about an organization or institution. I’m talking about the Called Out Ones that Jesus established back at Pentecost.
I’ve read blogs and articles, even some books, by believers and sometimes I feel like I’m in the middle of a political debate with unbelievers spouting hate and spite on either side. I’ve even heard one side doubting the salvation of those on the other.
If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar;
for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.
1 John 4:20
My heart simply breaks at enmity among the saints. Now, I realize that we have differences. Differences of doctrine, differences of practice, differences of worldviews. And there are some differences that are deal breakers. But those deal breakers mean that I may choose not unite in a local assembly with you, but it doesn’t mean I deny you are my brother/sister in the Lord.
Over the years I’ve had some of the sweetest fellowship with saints who hold vastly different doctrines from me.
We are united on this:
Jesus is the Son of God and He came to save us by His blood on the cross.
Can we get any plainer over the unity of our spirits? The gospel. Whether either of us baptize infants, agree with women in the pastorate or hold to a pre/mid/post tribulation viewpoint doesn’t matter in our love for one another. We can pray together, we can share meals with one another, we can dig into the scriptures together. We can hold one another in high regard with integrity, knowing that the same Spirit fills us both.
I recently watched a concert online of 40 years of Contemporary Christian Music. I don’t really care (or want to hear) if you love or hate CCM. My point is this: 40 years ago, hundreds of young musicians wrote their songs from passion for Jesus.
They wrote about their trials and failures, of the glorious work of God, of the blessed hope in Jesus.
They wrote of the depth of their faith and the greater depth of God’s love.
And they had a unity, love and regard for one another that was evident in their music and camaraderie.
This concert with 33 musicians from all walks of life, all doctrines, and varying age ranges was a testimony to the glory of God and the unity of the Spirit.
Where has this love and respect gone for the saints?
Today it breaks my heart that people cannot share love with a believer unless they agree with them on every jot and tittle. Goodness, I don’t agree with anyone on everything. There are sometimes I don’t even agree with myself!
By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.
I think it is fascinating that Jesus didn’t put doctrinal rightness as the marks of being His disciple. He placed love for the saints.
I sometimes feel ashamed for who we are as a body of believers when I see how we frequently act toward one another.
- Can’t we disagree in love?
- Can’t we dialogue instead of giving diatribes?
- Can’t we respect one another, trusting the Holy Spirit to work in all of our hearts?
I’m not saying we need to sugar-coat what we believe to be truth, but we can write to “make knowledge acceptable”. We can write in humility and love. Please know this: I write this as much to me as to anyone else. I want my words to be gentle and humble, even while I firmly hold to the truths I see in the Word. But I want to live out the unity of the Spirit that comes from the core of the gospel and the indwelling Spirit in all of our hearts!
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is
For brothers to dwell together in unity!
Let’s not give the enemy more ammunition than he needs to destroy the church. Let’s not breed division among the saints. Let’s learn to speak about issues rather than individuals. Let’s let love be the rule and guide of how we speak or write, particularly about those whom Jesus calls beloved!
All Scripture quotations are taken from the NASB.
Unless otherwise indicated, photos from pixaby.com