I don't know about you, but my brain hurts.
Lately it seems so much of the news and social media is filled with people arguing about every possible topic (usually politics, parenting styles, religion, and seriously... now even diets).
I'll be honest, I stopped watching news and reading post comments for a long time. My heart is sincerely overwhelmed at how free people feel to belittle. This year I have witnessed people write off family members, co-workers, neighbors, and best friends all in the name of "being right" or "taking a side."
If you profess to be a Christian, you betta believe THAT kind of life is not for you. God has called us to a different way of living. A way of welcoming people into our lives that's "an arms-wide-open," "tell-me-your-story" type of life.
EVEN if you disagree.
Romans 14:1 “Welcome fellow believers who don’t see things the way you do. And don’t jump all over them every time they do or say something you don’t agree with- even when it seems that they are strong on opinions but weak in the faith department. Remember they have their own history to deal with. Treat them gently. Romans 14:1 (MSG)”
I saw that another version broke it down like this: “Accept other believers who are weak in faith, and don’t argue with them about what’s right or wrong.”
I love how this says... "remember they have their own history to deal with. Treat them gently." No one can see from a viewpoint they've never had.
What if instead of instantly rushing to criticize, we decidedly tried to remember that people's beliefs are hidden behind a history,pain, and a culture they've been raised in?
Christians, we are to be full of the grace and compassion we want given to us. The Bible even says go the next step- to pray for GOOD to come to those who we disagree with!
Even the people who drive you CRAZY were created in the image of God. They were born with the creativity and calling of God on their lives- just like you.
Even back when the Bible was being written, they argued about dumb stuff too. Dare I even say it... RELIGIOUS stuff. "Tradition." Check out this passage to see what I mean.
Romans 14:8- It's God we are answerable to - all the way from life to death and everything in between - not each other. 9 That's why Jesus lived and died and then lived again: so that he could be our Master across the entire range of life and death, and free us from the petty tyrannies of each other. 10 So where does that leave you when you criticize a brother? And where does that leave you when you condescend to a sister? I'd say it leaves you looking pretty silly - or worse. Eventually, we're all going to end up kneeling side by side in the place of judgment, facing God. Your critical and condescending ways aren't going to improve your position there one bit. 11 Read it for yourself in Scripture: "As I live and breathe," God says, "every knee will bow before me; Every tongue will tell the honest truth that I and only I am God." 12 So tend to your knitting. You've got your hands full just taking care of your own life before God. 13 Forget about deciding what's right for each other. Here's what you need to be concerned about: that you don't get in the way of someone else, making life more difficult than it already is. 14 I'm convinced - Jesus convinced me! - that everything as it is in itself is holy. We, of course, by the way we treat it or talk about it, can contaminate it. 15 If you confuse others by making a big issue over what they eat or don't eat, you're no longer a companion with them in love, are you? These, remember, are persons for whom Christ died. Would you risk sending them to hell over an item in their diet? 16 Don't you dare let a piece of God-blessed food become an occasion of soul-poisoning! 17 God's kingdom isn't a matter of what you put in your stomach, for goodness' sake. It's what God does with your life as he sets it right, puts it together, and completes it with joy."
I wish I could double and TRIPLE highlight that entire passage 100 times, but I want to just focus on one part of it. This verse: "I’m convinced, Jesus convinced me! That everything as it is in itself is holy. We, of course by the way we treat it or talk about it can contaminate it."
Think about that for one sec. Did you realize the way you treat it or talk about things/people CAN CONTAMINATE THEM? Not the thing, the people, or the ideas themselves... It's the WAY WE TREAT PEOPLE that contaminates them.
THINK ABOUT THAT.
KEEP THINKING ABOUT THAT.
DO IT AGAIN.
So, my question for you today is, have you/are you contaminating other people, practices or ideas by the way you treat them?
Are you making life more difficult than it already is?!
Or today, are you going to quit deciding what's good for someone else... and instead just LOVE them?
I take this topic seriously. Christians... stop arguing. You're making God look bad. We can't afford to miss the point any longer.
Focus on what matters. Focus on God's mission... RECONCILING EVERYONE back to Him. No one was ever reconciled to God through arguing, but rather through loving kindness. Until the job's done, nothing else matters.
So, how do you get along with people you disagree with? By ignoring what you disagree on, and focusing on how God sees every person. He loves them deeply. He wants good for them. He wants them to know Him. PLAIN. AND. SIMPLE.
CHOOSE to love.