Admittedly, that’s a rather awkward title, but I’ve been thinking about how much wasted energy we spend worrying about how other people view church, Christianity, belief systems and religious practices. We tend to think that everybody else seems to not quite understand things the way we do, and precisely BECAUSE we believe a certain way, we think it is the right way.
The disciples demonstrated this way of thinking in Mark 9 when they said,
“Teacher, we saw a man casting out demons in your name, and we forbade him, because he was not following us.” Now, I think they had the right intentions; they were trying to defend Jesus and his ministry. The man they saw wasn’t part of their group, so he was to be viewed with suspicion. But Jesus told them not to stop the man. He said, “Anyone who is not against us is for us.”
Another example is explained in an interesting book titled, Why Are There So Many Denominations? Who Started Them? Why? The author, C. Jack Trickler, points out that we could consider that Paul and Peter led two different denominations. They were both disciples of Jesus, but they had different opinions or different interpretations of how Jesus’ teachings should be understood.
A husband and wife might disagree on many issues, with each thinking, “Why doesn’t my spouse think like I do??” But their different viewpoints can be enriching. A wise person once said that “if they were exactly alike, one of them would be redundant!”
So let’s celebrate the fact that we have differences; that we view things differently; that there is more than one way to look at things. In spite of a few things that we don’t agree on with a person, or a group, let’s bring to mind how many things there are that we DO agree on. Let’s not spend so much energy focused on the things that separate us — there is much we can be united on.
Let’s celebrate all that unites us.