A big part of my journey in the past few years has been a growing distaste for things that cause dis-unity in Christ's Church. However disagreements are very common in every human relationship, they are going to happen. How can we respond in love and respect despite different points of views?
I'm finding myself struggling with this lately. I am recognizing how strongly I disagree with those who publicly create divisions with others in Christ's Church. So how should I respond? Do I respond to those who are causing divisions with further hostility? How can I maintain unity with my brothers and sisters in Christ who do not share my perspective on what is essential to the faith?
Love (1 Cor 13:1-13 NIV)
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.Lately I have been quick to recognize Christ followers who are not displaying these characteristics of love as they relate to other Christ followers.
It is critical that I respond to everyone with love, even those I disagree strongly with.
John 13:34 (NIV)
"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."If we leave out love in our response to disagreements, others will not recognize that we are Christ's disciples.
I pray that I can demonstrate love in all situations as I work through this journey.