“Wow, I actually really disagree,” I thought a few days ago as I listened to my friend share his opinion on how Christians should handle this latest mask mandate. I shared my point of view and we talked for a while.
No, I’m not going to get into which side I think is right and which is wrong in this post. And yes, we’re still friends and still love each other.
In a battle, some hills are worth dying on. Others really aren’t. But lately it seems no matter who I listen to, they’re demanding that their “hill” of opinion, partisanship or doctrine is one I must choose as most important.
It’s so tempting for us to get dogmatic, especially when the “sides” are claiming moral superiority. As if every issue in life were binary.
Jesus could have prescribed a lot of things for his disciples to prioritize. But he described the greatest hill to die on, for the sake of the world knowing him: love.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Not a love dependent on our conformity of thought, conviction, or preference. Love, just as God loved us.
A related passage I’ve been dwelling on this week as external voices keep getting louder is Romans 15:5-7.
“May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.”
I didn’t deserve to be loved or welcomed by God, but he demonstrated his love in this: while I was still his enemy, Christ died in order to welcome me into his eternal family. (Romans 5:7-8)
I keep telling myself that I need to love as I engage with people who can’t get along with each other and who disagree on complicated issues. I am to welcome my fellow brother or sister in Christ the same way Christ welcomed me. Jesus set that standard for us when he died while we were his enemies.
What’s at stake here? Our witness to the world as the church.
“The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.”
Jesus prayed in John 17 that we (his church) would be perfectly one so that the world may know that God loves them.
In my exhortation today, I don’t mean we need to waffle on our positions and compromise on everything. But we can agree that not every hill is worth dying on. In this divisive season, I’m praying that we love despite our differences, so that the world can see God’s love for them through how we love one another.