It’s 3:00 AM on Thursday July 26… I can’t sleep… and I just read about Ms. Christine Quinn, New York City Council Speaker, who recently made the most unbelievably contradictory comment about Chick-Fil-A . She actually said…
We are a city that believes our diversity is our greatest strength, and we will fight anything and anyone that runs counter to that.
According to Ms. Quinn, diversity is good UNLESS someone’s opinion is different (Diverse) from the one(s) she holds. Sad thing is, she probably doesn’t understand how her statement destroys her own argument. But she’s not the only one who holds such an idea.
I had a church member tell me at a previous church, “Pastor, we’ll follow you as long as you lead where we want to go.” He was surprised when I laughed… then I realized he was serious! (Pause) I just saw a rabbit run by, so I’m going to chase it…
How are Christians to deal with people who hold views different from our own? In my little corner of the world… after years of asking myself that question… I’ve come to a few conclusions. Read them if you’d like, and if you don’t agree… well… I’ll save that for last.
1. Just because someone disagrees with me does NOT make them my enemy.
2. Just because someone disagrees with me does NOT make them wrong and me right (Or visa versa). I’ll come back to this one!
3. When someone disagrees with me, my first response should be to listen respectfully and closely.
4. When I disagree with someone, that does NOT mean it is my job… call… or responsibility to correct them. Thus my next thought…
5. When I disagree with someone, I must NOT get into an argument. Don’t say anything if possible. Why? No one has ever said… “You know what… you ARE right!” That isn’t a defeatist attitude, I just prefer not to deal with the probable ensuing drama of a debate.
6. When two people disagree that does NOT mean I ought to jump in and give my two cents worth to settle the matter. See #4.
7. When someone disagrees with me, and I get defensive… which leads to a passionate response to PROVE them wrong and me RIGHT… that means I’m not sure and comfortable in my own mind that I AM right (Think about that). When I am confident and comfortable with my opinion on a subject, it doesn’t bother me one bit when a person disagrees with me. After all… I am right… RIGHT? (Tongue in cheek). It also means I’m not following Philippians 1:27.
Because I am a pastor whose life revolves around Scripture, my biggest point of personal debate is this…
How can two people read the SAME Bible… pray to the SAME God… be led of the SAME Holy Spirit… come to different conclusions on the SAME topic… and one not be wrong?
The best answer I have found in Scripture is as follows… (Oh… I really have to work on all this… HARD)
Romans 14:5 One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. 10 Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God… 14:1 As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. 2 One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. 3 Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. 4 Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand. 14:13 Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. 14:21 It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble.
Romans 15:2 Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.
Ephesians 4:29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.