Are you Democrat or Republican? Are you white or black? In church, are you Denominational or Nondenominational? These questions and more seem to speak to our differences and why we aren’t together. No doubt about it, there is tension in our culture, and it seems to be rising. The divide is growing as individuals stand on opposite sides of issues, debating and arguing with a stubborn, closed off heart. The idea of “agree to disagree” is fading fast, and the idea of “if you’re not with me, you’re against me” is taking precedent. All of this speaks to an undercurrent that threatens the ideals so many have fought for.
But what concerns me even more is that this threatens both love and unity in our culture.
What do we have if love and unity are smashed to pieces? Mutual respect, kindness, generosity, dialogues and more are gone and it becomes every man for himself, which leads to chaos. The glue of our communities and neighborhoods is love and unity – giving each other respect and being on the same page for a purpose and cause. Unity doesn’t mean we all agree on every point, but rather, we agree on an idea and vision. This is why unity is powerful. It brings different people together, from unique places, to combine forces for something bigger than themselves. When this happens, great things takes places. This reveals why evil always seeks to divide. Therefore, we must fight for unity and protect it.
With all that’s going on, what is our position as the Church?
This question is huge because the answer points to heart issues moreso than cultural issues. Jesus desires to change our lives by changing our hearts and making them new. It’s crucial that our hearts worship Him, yield to Him and bow down before Him. We know this is true because in Isaiah He said, “They worship me but their hearts are far from me.” So it’s possible to outwardly do the right things while inwardly be disconnected from Him. This is what evil wants to happen. It causes us to major on minors, turn on one another and make points but miss hearts. Where we stand on issues is less important than where we stand in our hearts toward God and toward others. Let me explain.
It’s possible to be completely right and completely wrong at the same time.
In fact, these topics can reveal what’s in our heart more than revealing our stand on an issue. It’s my conviction that Jesus is trying to get to our hearts. This is why we must understand, with all that’s going on, that there are Meat and Bones in this issue. We have a phrase we use a lot at City Church to help guide us: “Eat the meat and spit out the bones.” Meaning, we can agree to disagree. We can honor and disagree at the same time. We can be different yet be unified. We can we receive from a person and not shut them out because of what we don’t choose to receive from them. Most of the time, it doesn’t have to be all or nothing, and choosing all or nothing can reveal a heart issue.
When the Church makes things all or nothing it leaves no room for differences. It seeks to convert everyone to them and their way. But Jesus didn’t ask us to do that. He asked us to lead them and convert people to Him. When we all become more like Jesus, everything around us will be more like Him too. Becoming more like us, our group, our party, or our views will not and does not make everything better. Only He has the power to change us from the inside out.
Here is what Paul said in Romans 12:18 – “If it possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.”
Notice the phrase “as much depends on you.” It’s on us to lead in such a way that we can live as peaceably with all men as possible. We don’t react, but rather we respond in wisdom and love. We don’t go on tangents. Instead we keep our focus on the main thing. We don’t alienate people, but rather we include them in grace and faith. Isn’t this what Jesus did for us in Romans 5:8?
Whatever Jesus has given us, it’s our goal to give that to others. If it was good enough for us, why would it not be good enough for others?
In every hot topic there is Meat, things are truth, right and that need to processed for change. There is also bones, which are opinions, ideas that may not be true or in line with your thoughts, those things can be thrown out as it’s not the main point of the topic anyway. It’s up to us to gauge our own response. Instead of getting choked on the bones, we need to learn to process the meat and be a bridge.
We, the Church, are needed more than ever before. We must be His light and salt. We must rise above our differences and unite at higher levels. It’s our moment to walk in wisdom and love, disarming rhetoric that splinters us apart as people, His Church and more. Let’s get over ourselves and walk life out like Jesus. This is where we have impact, this is where is have legacy and this is where the darkness will bow its knee before our God.
I encourage you to arise and be counted. Take your place. Let Jesus touch your heart. Move past the frivolities of church culture, style or groups. Move past the political agendas. Move past the barriers of race and background and be who God said you can be. Jesus is the Desire of the Nations. He’s what we need. He’s what everyone needs; therefore, let’s give them Jesus!
I believe the best days are ahead, and you and I are a part of His plan.
Have a great week, and I believe in you,