After writing “Religious Persecution – Made in China,” I have stopped to consider the ramifications of taking a strong stance on something. In a Technicolor world where everything is ‘relative’ is there really room for people that see life in black and white? If there’s an issue, you likely will find people on every possible side. And most ‘true believers’ usually think their opinion is the only right one. Not that there’s anything wrong with thinking this way… right?
Maneuvering the maze of public opinion and peer pressure can be dangerous. This is especially true if you get caught up in the beliefs of others without having personal convictions of your own. One of my big mantras is “Know God for yourself.” You may be thinking, ‘Which god are you talking about…Jesus, Allah, Yahweh, Buddha?’ If you’re really postmodern, you’re probably thinking, ‘Do I have to start off with the presumption that there is a god?’
Wait a minute partner. Before your intellectual defenses go up, stop and listen to what I have to say. Over the past several years, being ‘open’ and ‘tolerant’ has become the backstage pass to being culturally relevant – not that anyone has effectively defined what these terms mean. Doing such a thing would be very un-open and intolerant…right?
From woman as senior pastors to condoning homosexuality to discouraging children from reading Harry Potter or playing with Pokemon, there are tons of issues where Christians do not agree. Add on top of all the cultural issues going on today the traditional dogmatic disagreements over doctrine and it’s easy to see why the modern Church is so divided. But I must stop and ask, ‘Are differences bad?’
Notice how I quickly twisted together differences and division and made them almost interchangeable. I believe that many people live with the mindset that differences of opinion must always lead to division.
As we see from the original twelve disciples of Jesus, this does not have to be true. Some of these men would have just as rather beaten each other up as look at each other had it not been for Jesus bringing them together. Despite their political, religious and personality differences, the love of Jesus Christ overcame any division. Jesus’ last prayers before the crucifixion focused on the unity of His disciples. Throughout His earthly ministry, Jesus taught that a house divided against itself will not stand.
Some may think that I am making an underhanded pitch for relative truth. Quite the contrary, I am calling people to embrace the way, the truth and the life. Christians should be able to co-exist without having to agree on every little detail. Yet truth remains the domain of God alone. We do not determine truth. God does. The living Word as seen through the guidance of the Holy Spirit is the ultimate source of truth.
Yet there are some things that are more a matter of personal conscience and not pure Biblical doctrine. Whatever you do, it should be done in faith (Romans 14:23). If your conscience bothers you, you probably better reconsider what you are doing. Some people can watch R-rated movies or drink a beer without it bothering them one bit. For someone else, it would be a sin. I am learning that it is not my place to bash people over the head with my personal convictions.
While I may be free to share my opinion, I should be willing to let things go. I must trust God to deal with them if they even need to be ‘dealt with’ at all. God has called me to love people where they are to where He wants them to be. Raising public awareness on social injustice or holding to old fashioned standards may be a God thing. But it can quickly lose the anointing if I try to make a personal crusade out of a God thing.