Disagreeing in Christian Love
Surely one of the hardest disciplines in a democracy for Christians is to love those with whom we disagree politically. Political disagreements rival theological ones. We find Christian brothers and sisters on opposite ends of political spectrums. We tend to emphasize different Scriptures.
In one example:
“. . . buying the poor for silver and the needy for a pair of sandals. . . ” So the prophet Amos rails against the wealthy who make a profit by cheating the poor.
Paul, admonishing the church at Thessalonica, says, “Anyone unwilling to work should not eat.”
Different Christian groups have emphasized different messages, both legitimate. One will see justice first, another, responsibility. The differences are divisive only if we believe we have absolute truth. If we are willing to talk and respect the other, we may find that new way, a bridge built of shared values.
The young John, called Mark, left Paul and Barnabas on one of their missionary journeys. When the time came for another mission trip, Barnabas wanted to take Mark again. Paul disagreed with giving Mark another chance. So they went out separately, Paul taking Silas, and Barnabas taking Mark. They used the disagreement to carry God’s message as they thought best, and two teams spread the gospel instead of one.
Later in prison, Paul, writing to Timothy, tells him: “Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful in my ministry.” (2 Timothy 4:11) Thus, Paul showed his love toward one of whom he had previously disapproved, allowing a new relationship.
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