Remember the Bible Series, #30
He who is not against us is for us. For whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because of your name as followers of Christ, truly I say to you, he will not lose his reward.
~ Mark 9:40
What is the most destructive force in Christianity? It existed while Christ was still alive, it existed in the church in A.D. 33, and it exists today. It causes Christians to argue, to despise each other, and even kill each other. It shatters the commandments of Christ in the name of Christ.
And what is it? Differences of opinion. It sounds innocuous enough. In fact, we should realize, that differences of opinion seem practically inevitable when even two people converse about an important topic, much less two billion. The problem is not that we might disagree with what someone else says about God, the Bible, Christianity, or theology. Differences of opinion will always occur, because none of us knows the complete truth, and we will not know the complete truth during this life. “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.” (1 Cor. 13:12)
The problem is not that we disagree. The problem is how we handle it.
Our innate pride tells us we are right. We grab onto our own idea and give it the status of God’s Word. We tacitly give our own brain the status of God. We make ourselves into a god. Our breathtaking failure of humility tells us, “I am right and they are wrong.”
And from there we move our ideas into the equal of God’s Word. We transform ourselves from humble servants to infallible modern-day prophets, and it is us and nobody else who understands and speaks God’s truth.
God did not tell us to create theology that seems right to us. God did, however, clearly and without caveat, command us to love one another. God did command us to live in unity! In 1 Corinthians 1, Paul commands us in the name of God that “there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.” He then asks the penetrating rhetorical question: “Is Christ divided?”
The further problem, here, is one of self-reference. If I read the Bible to say something, and somebody else who calls himself a Christian says something different, our brain tells us that it is not Christ who is divided by my aggression towards such a person. Rather, I tell myself, the other person, who does not agree with me, is not living in Christ at all.
Today’s memory quote completely disarms the sinful conduct that our “logic” leads us towards. Really, to understand how wide Christ casts His net, we must read the entire passage. “John said to Him, Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in Your name, and we tried to prevent him because he was not following us. But Jesus said, ‘Do not hinder him, for there is no one who will perform a miracle in My name, and be able soon afterward to speak evil of Me.’” (Mark 9:38-41)
Christ will include in His fold anyone who performs a miracle in His name, basically: Anyone who will give us a glass of water in His name.
If another person confesses Jesus Christ, as their Lord and Savior, we must — in the name of Christ, and in obedience to His direct commandment — not speak evil of them! It is not given to us to judge others, and especially, not to judge who Christ has saved or will save.
“Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye.”
Lord Jesus, lead me to live in unity and love with all who confess your holy name. Amen.
~ Mason Barge
Editor, Daily Prayer