by Bruce Cooper
Romans 12:18 NASB: “If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all people.” Emphasis is mine.
One of the things that causes me, and apparently many others, a serious amount of frustration, is our growing inability to accept the opinions of others that we personally disagree with. I suppose that another way of stating this could be “exhibiting a lack of tolerance for the opinions of others that we personally disagree with or find offensive.”
And just so I don’t give you a false impression, I totally include myself when it comes to sometimes exhibiting a shortfall within this particular mindset.
The worldview of Christians is radically different from the worldview of non-Christians, or I would think, it should be. The world, as we currently know it, is becoming increasingly tolerant of subjective opinions and the right to voice or articulate these subjective opinions without encountering hostile or slanderous opposition.
If what I believe as a Christian is the total opposite of what you believe as a non-Christian and what you believe as a non-Christian is the total opposite of what I believe as a Christian, it should be relatively safe to say that we are not of like mind. That should be a given.
As an example, let’s look at individuals that accept sexual orientation or gender identity differently than some Christians do. Notice that I used the word “some”. Fifty years ago I probably would not have needed to make that “some” distinction. But, because of changing world views, even within the visible “Christian” community, that distinction is indeed now necessary. Do I agree with this now necessary distinction? No I do not, but let’s skip over that for the time being due to brevity considerations and keep this difference of opinion isolated to opposing opinions between Christians who do not accept the more inclusive changing world view, and non-Christians who also accept the more inclusive world view.
One of the things that I find particularly disturbing is that those who accept the more inclusive world view and expect acceptance by all, for their stated perspective, do oftentimes themselves fail to exhibit acceptance towards those who would disagree with their subjective opinion. Regardless of which statistical data source one uses, by far, the majority of the world’s population still does not identify with the LGBTQIA+ perspective. This would seem to indicate to me that even within the changing world view, although now more generally accepted, it still is not personally identified with, by the greater majority, as a preference lifestyle.
In like manner, with regard to hostile and slanderous exchanges, there are also many documented cases where some professing Christians have not exhibited acceptance of the reality of this difference of opinion, without also becoming hostile or slanderous. These hostile and slanderous exchanges ought not to be so, and I would submit, as per the initial Biblical quote above, it behooves us as Christians to set the pattern of tone.
One of the most difficult mindsets to steadfastly maintain, is to separate discussing a disagreement or a differing perspective with someone, and not transferring one’s dislike or disagreement with the issue being discussed, to the individual to whom you are discussing it with. We are told to love our neighbour as ourselves, and that involves us exercising consideration (respect), love and compassion, towards all whom we interact with, much like the manner in which, we would have those with whom we interact with, show consideration (respect), love and compassion, towards us. The “Golden Rule” that Jesus gave us, comes to mind. We don’t see this too often these days within the visible Christian Church (all major branches), and there are numerous reasons for this. Among which, far too often, we who call ourselves “Christians”, take the lead and place Jesus and His teachings behind us, in our dealings with others. The truth that we hold to be true, does not negate our responsibility to do so with consideration (respect), love and compassion, irrespective of whether others may agree with us, or we with them.
In actuality, the Bible tells us that we are NOT to judge those outside of the Church ( 1 Corinthians 5:12-13). And in this particular case, while we do not agree with the LGBTQIA+ lifestyle, the greater need, by far, is for their eternal salvation. And being “born again” opens up a whole new realm of possibilities.
Is this approach “simplistic”? Maybe so, but I’m thinking it is definitely a step in the right direction.
As a follow-up, on this particular subject, I would highly recommend the following post which can be viewed here.
Something to consider.
Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!
When Bruce Cooper became a Christian he had a thousand questions. One objective for his blog is to provide answers to many of the questions that he originally had. His “Christian Resources” and “Defending Your Faith 101” pages provide many facets of Christian Apologetics. Bruce is an ordinary Christian layperson and his blog is the result of his conviction. Teaching Christians to know why they believe, and what they believe has helped him build on his conviction. Bruce served 35 years in the Canadian Armed Forces. He has worked as an Information Technology (IT) Network Administrator, and a Certified Google Apps Deployment Specialist. He retired at the age of 70 and now works part time with the Canadian Corps of Commissionaires. Bruce, A.K.A. Papa, and his wife Peggy live in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Their five children are grown and have gifted them with 7 wonderful grandchildren.
Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!
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