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Posts Tagged ‘differences’

by Jim Gordon

Is it me, or do you find that some of the teachings we have grown up with in modern day religion may be wrong? It could be a simple misinterpretation or it could be people purposefully trying to force others into their way of thinking.

Do you ever grow tired of reading all the different views and opinions, interpretations and doctrines? Do you get aggravated when people argue over their beliefs, yet God has told us to love one another?

It can get pretty discouraging seeing all the postings on Facebook and other social media where people argue, and sometimes heatedly, over their views and interpretations. Sometimes they are basic views we have grown up accepting as gospel truth, yet now we question whether they are gospel or man’s wrong interpretation.

No matter how you interpret the scriptures, no matter how much you believe your way of thinking on spiritual matters, someone else will have a completely different view. Even those who are followers of Christ cannot agree on everything. We all have a different view on the bible and spiritual matters.

I wonder why we cannot accept each other no matter what our interpretation. Truthfully, none of us can prove most of what we believe, whether it is faith in God, heaven, hell, satan and a number of other topics. It is all by faith that we believe what we believe. We cannot prove or disprove anything.

I think we should ask the Spirit daily for His guidance into truth. Hold to what you believe, but be open enough to change when God (not some other person) gives a clearer view of the truth. When someone has a different way of looking at things, accept them. You do not have to agree with them. Who knows, they might be right. Friendly discussion of each others views can be helpful.

I do not think any of us can say without a doubt who is completely right or wrong in our interpretations. We should seek God for truth through the Spirit and let everyone have their right to do the same. Quit fighting and arguing over who is right and who is wrong.

We should remember that unity comes only in Christ. It is not through religion, doctrines, denominations or bible versions but through Christ alone. Unity through Christ looks beyond religion, doctrines, denominations, race, sexual orientation and nationality.

God is love and he lives within us. By allowing his love to flow out of us we can look beyond our differences and accept one another even when we disagree.

One thought comes to mind in all this, ‘Jesus loves me this I know, for the bible tells me so’. The most basic and simple song we learned long ago seems to be the one thing on which we can all agree.

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I think that as followers of Christ, we should be able to accept and love everyone. No matter what we believe, what our faith or doctrine is, no matter our religion, nationality, sexual preference or color, we want to see each other as Jesus sees us. This is a type of love we cannot do on our own. It is only possible by the love of God within us. We want to love, accept and care for people. It’s only natural that we will not always agree, but we want to look past those areas and love each other in Christ. This seems to be the way that others will come to see the love of God, not through condemning and bashing one another. Not in trying to prove we are right and everyone else is wrong. Love doesn’t mean seeing eye-to-eye, it doesn’t mean we agree or even like some of the things people do, but it does mean we look past the differences and love each other as Christ loves us.

Labels

No matter if we are gay, straight, religious, atheist, asexual, baptist, methodist, charismatic or whatever label people put on us, the underlying fact is we are all human beings. We all deserve to be treated with respect and be accepted. Each of us should be able to live our life and make our own choices without being judged and condemned by others. We should be able to discuss our differences respectfully, and none of us should try to force our views and choices on others.

equals

If we could look past the labels and see each other as people who overall want the same things, to be happy, to be loved, be healthy, get our bills paid and enjoy life, I think things would be better even with our differences. This is not to say we are going to agree with everyone, always associate with everyone and be happy together, that just isn’t going to happen. There are too many different thoughts, ideas, beliefs, lifestyles and personalities for us to agree on everything and be totally comfortable with everyone, yet accepting each other and respecting each other in spite of our differences certainly is a possibility.

Let’s look past the labels and see each other as human beings who have feelings, who want love and friendship. Let’s be people who can get to know one another, learn from, share thoughts and ideas with and accept each other as being created in the image of God.

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Have you noticed how so many times we Christians will say something that is offensive, or we are just plain argumentative. Sometimes it is done in ignorance or due to our many personalities and the way we relate to others.

Obviously we aren’t a perfect people, although God sees us as perfect because of His Grace.

Unfortunately, we still have a mind that needs to be renewed day by day, and a body that needs to be brought under control of the Spirit day by day.

I know we will not all agree on all points, we all have different interpretations, thoughts and ideas on Biblical things. God has made us all with different personalities, different upbringings and backgrounds and He speaks to us individually as He sees fit.

The thing I try to remember and would like us all to remember, we are all God’s children, all of us who have accepted the Grace Jesus provided by His death and resurrection. We all won’t see eye to eye, we all won’t have the same experiences and we all grow in Grace at a different pace and in God’s timing.

Whether we are attending an institutional church or if we don’t attend church at all, if we read the KJV, NIV, NASB or any other version of the Bible, it is the same Spirit that dwells within us and we are brothers and sisters in Christ. We are to love one another, care for one another and support each other as God leads us. We should try to keep our personal thoughts and interpretations to ourselves and let the love of God flow out of us to help and encourage others.

That isn’t to say we need to accept everyone’s views. We need to follow what we feel the Spirit is saying to us individually, but we don’t have to try to make everyone else accept how God is working in us either.

We need to pray daily for God to work in each of us, lead us into His truth, and ask the Holy Spirit to fill us and give us strength over temptation. I used to ask for God to help me over this fault or that weakness until I realized my help was just getting in the way. God doesn’t need my help because my help is insufficient. I now pray for God to give me His strength in overcoming my weaknesses, and ask for a fresh filling of the Holy Spirit each morning.

Ask for His strength in loving and accepting others, and how to show love to our brothers and sisters we come in contact with each day.

We don’t have to agree on everything. We do need to love others as Christ loves us. Start out tomorrow morning praying for a fresh touch from God with His power and His love. Let us allow God to work in us, change us and give us power to live Christ-like each day.

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