What is the most important part of our Christian faith? The one thing that we cannot compromise on – will not bend on – must agree on? The gospel, right? Our faith is built on the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Afterall, as Paul says, if Jesus was not resurrected, then our faith is futile (1 Corinthians 15). That is surely the most important thing for Christians. If we agree on that, we can live in harmony. Right?
But boy do we love to tack on extras. Have you ever heard someone say, “you can’t be a Christian and vote for that candidate”? We draw lines like these all the time. Would you be a part of a church that only played secular, rock sounding worship music? Or a church that encouraged you to wear a shirt and tie, or a dress and heels every Sunday? Can you have a peaceful discussion with other Christian parents whose children attend public school? What about brothers and sisters who support, or oppose, gun rights? Can you be a Democrat, or a Republican, and be a real Christian?
I could go on and on and on. Some of the things I listed above are personal challenges for me. And it’s not a bad thing to have opinions and convictions. But when those opinions supersede our love of Christ, and our willingness to love brothers and sisters who think and believe differently than us, it becomes a problem. To quote the ever-wise Jedi Master Yoda, “fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”
The modern American church seems to be so tied up in fear, anger and hate these days. We’ve put so many other issues before the command to love and live peaceably with all. And because of it, everyone suffers.
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