Grace When You Disagree

February 20, 2017

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It seems there are more opportunities for division and disagreement right now than ever.

Many world events have caused Christians to take opposite sides on issues.

The recent election in the USA
The worldwide issues with refugees and immigrants
A global fear of the foreigner.

There are those embracing terms like evangelical and inclusive, while at the same time others are fleeing them.

Economic Disparity
Racism
Moral debates

Being unified as a church is harder than ever.

The apostle Paul had some experience in these areas.

He needed to bring together the arch enemies of the Jews and the Gentiles in the church of Rome. This required dealing with moral and cultural issues.

The church in Corinth was divided over spiritual gifts, freedom in Christ, and lawsuits to name a few.

Two ladies in the church of Philippi were in such a state, Paul named names! He calls out Euodia and Syteche publicly, urging them to get along. (Philippians 4:2-3)

Maybe this issue is not as unique as we think.

Paul urged the Romans to, “Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.” (Romans 12:10)

To the Corinthians he challenged them to, “Make love your aim.” (1 Corinthians 14:1)

We recently had a cross-cultural relationships seminar on our campus. Our normal is forty plus nations attempting to interact on our campus. The opportunities for offense, hurt, misunderstanding, and racial accusations are many. Regular attempts at understanding are required to move towards the goals we have.

The speaker shared a short piece of wisdom which can really help us have grace when we disagree.

Sarah Lanier, the author of┬áForeign to Familiar: A Guide to Understanding Hot – And Cold – Climate Cultures, gave us this piece of wisdom.

“When disagreement happens, seek to respond with curiosity rather than judgment.”

If we can put time and energy into understanding one another, conflict should decrease.

The old adage of putting ourselves into the shoes of the other is at work.

Too often we walk in judgment and use words like “always” and “never”

  • All Republicans or Democrats are this way.
  • Immigrants and Refugees are terrorists.
  • Trump, Clinton, or Obama are always this or that.

We really dislike when people make these statements about us, but we so freely judge others rather than seeking to understand.

  • All Christians are judgmental and critical.
  • Christians never care about the poor or disenfranchised.

At a time of unprecedented disunity in the body of Christ, we must walk in greater levels of grace for one another.

Let’s be willing to take the time to understand, rather than jumping to conclusions.

Of course we want to continue to walk in truth. Couple it with the grace and love and we reflect Christ in a greater way. He was Grace and Truth.

###Let’s be more curious and less judgmental.

 

Photo credit: Boris Thaser 137/355 - Schuhe / Shoes via photopin (license)

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Chris

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A missionary teacher for 24 years currently living in South Africa. I am a recovering superhero, daily in need of the grace of God