There is such a huge difference of opinion among Christians regarding just about everything, that it is nearly impossible to find agreement on much of anything. Perhaps the only thing that unites us together is the firm belief that Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer. Beyond that (in some cases including that), everything seems to be open for bitter debate and partisan fighting.
My heart aches when I see brothers and sisters become so angry with each other a huge chasm opens up and causes a split heard around the world. Disagreements are inevitable and many times to be expected. But, when those disagreements turn into a running feud or a bitter fight to the end, no one wins and all involved lose.
I cannot begin to remember all the times over the years where I have either witnessed or been a part of “chief friends” breaking apart over the stupidest of issues. I have seen “BFF” turn into enemies because one party misinterpreted the meaning of one line in an e-mail or text. I guess they were not really best friends were they?
Why are the words “I was wrong” so hard to say? Why is it so difficult to “man up” and admit to being wrong when indeed you are? Most disputes that turn into ugly splits arise from a breakdown of communication followed by a huge misunderstanding. In most cases, the whole situation could be resolved if the parties resisted the temptation to get mad at each other.
Open communication is an absolute must if we desire to be of one heart and one mind. Resisting the temptation to storm off in a fit of rage is necessary to keep the discussion alive and the hope of a resolution available. As soon as someone decides they are right and everyone else is wrong, everything breaks down into nothing more than bitter and angry people going their separate ways unhappy and many times extremely bitter.
Pride is truly an ugly animal. The unwillingness to accept responsibility for being misinformed or just plain wrong does nothing but destroy relationships and promote ill will. If more Christians practiced some of the very things we say our faith is all about (like forgiveness and unconditional love), we would see more harmony and provide a much stronger witness to this world than the one they see when all there is are quarrels, fights and angry disagreements.
Personally the most bitter and unforgiving I know, are all believers in Jesus Christ. Their maturity is another matter. When someone places an interpretation upon the scripture that is very questionable, it angers me. When someone purposely refuses to repent of something that harms not only self, but the body of Christ, that also angers me. When someone in the name of unity and tolerance corrupts the gospel, that angers me. When money becomes too important that angers me. And then there is the secular creeping into everything. Etc, etc, etc.
There is much to get angry about. How we handle them is important. I was raised, and have never been one to play politics, or beat around the bush. I don't believe our Lord Jesus Christ did either, or those of His apostles. They got pretty much kicked out then, and still will. The accusations also pretty much the same as then. If they accused Jesus Christ of working through Beelzebub...well, the point is obvious. We just need to stand for the truth of God's word, that in itself will bring on anger. We sure don't need to do so in any anger. But not sugar-coat it either.
The biggest problem today, I see, is that in discussing and debating the doctrines of scripture, many tag as 'hostile', and offensive, the reasoning and methods used. Everyone wants to 'tippy-toe' through the garden of compromise and leaven, with a smile and a hug for one another, and pretend all is well, as the old song presented. In contending for the faith once delivered, christendom is a stench in God's nostrils. And every word and thought, and action, deed, will be accounted for, upon the foundation of Christ. But many love the smell in that garden of secular christendom, and tip-toeing around in it. Deep subject brother. Hope you are well. God Bless.
Good observation B2Y. I was on another Christian site and read a blog by a man teaching that anyone teaching from any Bible other that the authorized Bible was an instrument of the devil used to spread his false doctrine. Normally I would pray for the writer and move on but after checking his profile, I saw that he was one of the most read bloggers on the site. The fact that this person chose to teach the message of legalism over the message of love to the Church, really got my dander up. Without thinking it through, I hit comment and wrote about why I thought he was wrong and I was right. He hit reply and politely told me he did not care what anybody deceived by the devil thought. Following a few more volleys, I realized the futility of further discussion. From that incident, I learned that arguing is not an act of love, it’s and act of pride. And, as you stated, the worst thing was it took away any chance I had of helping set him free from the legalism he is imposing on himself and others.
Yours in Christ,
I, too, have been on other “discussion” sites. I have found that too many on these sites are not there to discuss at all; they are there to make the point that they and/or their church doctrines are right. I have actually had someone comment that he/she did not care what scripture said; their church said such and such and that was what they believed. Where does one go from there?
When we realize that we can’t convince anyone of “truth,” then there would not be so much argument. Only the Holy Spirit can open spiritual eyes. If the discussion is coming from the natural mind, we already know from God’s Word that the natural mind CANNOT comprehend things of the Spirit. I can share; I cannot convince.
I’ve been in other situations where someone has done or said something to me that I really didn’t deserve. The Spirit tells me that I must ask forgiveness of that person. I’m thinking, “Why? I didn’t deserve what they did/said.” Now this goes totally against the “natural” man.
“You did not respond in My way.”
So, I’ve asked forgiveness for my response; still didn’t get an apology for what was done/said to me. But, that’s okay. I’m only responsible for my obedience or disobedience to the One I call my LORD.
I love the arguments brought on by Scripture. I do not like the Im right and your wrong mentality. There is an old Jewish story about the day the learning stopped in the Shiva. Two Rabbi's would tag-team teach on the topic of the day at the Shiva. While one Rabbi was teaching the other would argue every point, sometimes heatedly. The students would go to the Raboni and complain of the arguing. He would laugh and nothing would change. Years went by until one of the Rabbi's died and the remaining Rabbi did all the teaching. The students never heard an alternate opinion again. They realized the day the Rabbi died is the day the learning stopped in the Shiva.
We should argue the Scriptures as they are living and as we mature so does our understanding. I think the deeper meanings are often in the fervent arguements of another believer. If we take the time to reflect on both sides of an arguement we will become wiser.