by Andrea Bowling Perdue
What happens when we don’t agree? Inevitably, there will be things in this life we do not agree with. Such things certainly stir a passion within us. So, what does one do with all that stirred up passion and emotion?
If you are anything like me, you need a place to work out your emotions. I love being “right” and I vehemently “hate” conflict. As you probably already know these two character traits do NOT make good dance partners. They often create war within my soul. Fortunately, as I have stumbled my way into the second half of my earthly life I’ve realized I only have two options:
Share my opinion with anyone who will listen
Adopt the path of love
Option 1 often leads to hurt feelings, anger, and broken relationships. I can not think of one time my opinion shared in this way has changed another person’s opinion.
Option 2 is actually found in scripture.
Since the beginning of time, religious leaders have fought ferociously over how well they followed the laws. They fell into the age old trap of comparing and judging those they did not think followed the laws correctly. Politely put, religious leaders took great pride in “being right” and lost sight of all else. In the New Testament the religious leaders confronted Jesus and demanded to know which commandment was most important.
“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
Matthew 22:36-40 NIV
A rough word count of the Bible is between 783,137 (KJV) - 807,370 (NIV) depending on which translation you use. And, there are 23,145 verses in the old testament and 7,957 verses in the new testament. Yet, in four verses Jesus tells us all we need to know to live a life worthy of His calling.
We expect Christians and religious leaders to have all the answers and to always make wise and God honoring decisions, however, throughout history they continue to fall short. Time and time again they fall into the age old trap of selfishness and legalism. No one group is exempt from this struggle. All humans are sinners and only God has all the answers.
I can only imagine the frustration of Christ. Over and over, he reminds his own disciples and followers, as well as the religious leaders of what is most important and within the blink of an eye each of them do it again. Will we ever get it right? Can we at least be found trying?
When I stand before the Lord I hope He will say, “You love Me well and you loved others well!”
Why is something that sounds so easy so terribly hard for most of us? Can we stop wasting time arguing about who is right and be found loving Christ and others well? Can we have a focus that honors Christ rather than honoring self and self-interest?
Life is incredibly short. I do not want to waste what little time I have stressed out, anxious, and arguing over things I can not fix. I want to be found loving and encouraging those who may be vastly different than I am. What about you? How do you want to spend the rest of your days? When you stand before the Lord, what do you want to hear Him say to you?
Let's not be found standing in a safe huddle where everyone agrees with us and miss the real beauty in this life. A stranger is only strange until you are able to see them through the eyes of Jesus. Let’s sit and listen to the heart of the other as we welcome them into the arms of our loving Savior. What do we have to lose? Fighting over who is right and who is wrong never ends well. Can we find our way to middle ground with open hearts and look for Jesus in the person with whom we disagree the most.
Remember, sometimes our voices are loudest when we are found silently loving and listening to the other.