I just finished a class called the History of Christianity in which we learned about the journey that the Christian faith and doctrine has gone on over the last 2,000+ years. I found myself often wondering in my mind why the men and women we were studying would create such distance between each othe over small insignificant details when the big picture was they were behind the same thing. I know that there was at least one or two times that I was really outraged… wasn’t what they were doing (fighting with each other) not only creating disunity in the faith but it also was not showing the love that Jesus calls us to to others. I might have possibly even become a little arogant thinking… I sure am glad that I’m not like that!
And then this weekend it hit me… I am. It might not be in such a drastic way or in causing bodily harm to another believer but I am exactly the same. I go to a church that isn’t the same denomination of my own, who doesn’t worship the way that I worship, or who doesn’t believe the EXACT same doctrine as myself and I start off looking down at them. I start to wonder why they don’t see the biblical truth and how they could be so BLIND.
But the truth is that I was the one who was blind… how could I not see that we have the same Jesus. I love him and seek to follow after Him. They love him and seek to follow after Him. And we listen to what Jesus is saying to us to the best of our ability. I may be right or I may be wrong. What matters is my focus and my Jesus.
I was struck by this very fact this weekend as I was with family. Family that I am still truly getting to know. I find that often I’m on my guard because of hurts from my past and hurts from other family members. The guard comes up, my attitude automatically goes to defense and this usually leads to me internally analyzing anything theological or biblical in nature that is said. Luckily, I realized this almost the first time it ever happened and so I am aware that my automatic response is not correct. So this weekend I was with family again and as I again found myself beginning to go there, I PAUSED and realized how I was just like the early church fathers… I was discounting and writing off someone’s viewpoint because it wasn’t my own but… really we have the same Jesus.
I realized that, yes I had been hurt in the past by doctrinal differences within my family and yes at time I had felt harrassed and bombarded for my school and my beliefs… but, that was in the past and if I really wanted that to change it had to start with me. And so… although I won’t agree 100% doctrinally with those in my family and in my life I will respect them. I don’t have to change my viewpoint when talking with them but I do have to recognize that our differences doesn’t mean they aren’t listening/seek Jesus all the same. And really, all that really matters is…
Jesus is the same to me and to them. The same Jesus who loves. The same Jesus who cares. The same Jesus who heals. The same Jesus who protects. And the same Jesus who most certainly guides. I don’t know who is right and who is wrong, what path is correct and what path is off, but I’m thankful that I follow a God who is BIGGER than what I often view Him to be and in the end… He is the only Way that matters…
Do you ever find yourself criticizing, verbally or internally, other Christians and their walk with God?
Do you find it difficult to interact with or talk about spiritual matter when doctrines are different?
What is God calling you out on in this time of Family and Fellowship and how do you choose to respond?