When dealing with other people, especially other believers when we have disagreements with them, do you tend to come against them or come alongside them? Do you tend to get argumentative and accusatory or do you speak with them while maintaining a heart that is faithful and loyal to them as brothers or sisters in Christ, even if you feel they are wrong and you are right?
I am sometimes amazed at how “unChristian” Christians can sometimes be when it comes to how we speak and relate with one another. I’ve heard believers speak to each other in ways and in tones that they would never use with “unchurched” people for fear they would not be a good witness for Christ and turn them off to the gospel! And yet, we cannot maintain a level of respect and love for those who are our fellow gospel-believers and gospel-receivers?
Also too when it comes to speaking to non believers I have seen a profound amount of grace for such people who don’t understand everything there is to know about the faith. We intuitively understand that there is a certain lack of knowledge when it comes to the most basic of Christian teachings. But yet, when it comes to our brothers and sisters we’ve known for decades, often we hold no grace and understanding for things that really amount to the most peripheral of issues.
I think God’s own heart instructs us well on this note. Even when we were wrong, terribly wrong (while feeling very theologically right and justified!), when we crucified His Son, God never once took an accusatory tone with us. In fact, Jesus said the following, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.”
I think this teaches us that when speaking with other believers, or talking about the differences in our beliefs, there is no room whatsoever for things like arguing, one-upping, being sarcastic, writing the other person off, or labeling and lumping each other into a category that you can easily dismiss (see Galatians 5:15).
We have to remember that it is Satan who is known as the accuser of the brethren. May we never take a stance like his. May we be like the Holy Spirit who, even though we make mistakes and are probably wrong on numerous theological points, comes alongside anyway, in love and comfort.
So the next time you talk about the differences in your beliefs against someone else here or elsewhere, pay attention to which stance you are taking, whether you are taking the stance of the Enemy, or the stance of the Spirit…whether you are being an accuser or a comforter.
“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.” – Micah 6:8