- by Jim Gordon
Acceptance of Others
I get tired of so much arguing and disagreement among fellow christians. We certainly do not see a lot of unity and agreement within our community. We seem so divided and exclusive in the christian world today.
Jesus said his followers were to be known for their love for one another. Yet today it is hard to find brothers and sisters in Christ being loving and kind to one another, let alone to those outside the faith. Fortunately, this is not the case in every situation, but it seems a lot more common than it should be.
If you attend the same church building and accept the same doctrines, you will usually find love and acceptance. I remember when I was in the church system the first thing I would ask someone was where they went to church. If they went to an organization I liked and agreed with, I would pretty much instantly like the person. If they went to a place that was different in their way of worship or interpretation of the bible, then I would immediately be on guard and almost dismiss the thought of getting to know them. This seems to be a pretty common occurrence.
It is sad that we put walls up with people who think differently. It is sad that we have focused such importance on buildings, doctrines, interpretations and bible versions that we forget: God loves each of us. We are to love God and love others no matter what they believe, especially among those who are his followers.
Loving and accepting people does not mean we are always in agreement and that we always get along. Of course, there will be disagreements and differences of opinions, probably even arguments and hurt feelings at times, but that is life. We can disagree and even argue at times and still respect and accept the other person.
By the power of the Spirit within us, we can accept, respect and be loving toward others. Not only our brothers and sisters in Christ, but those who are not of the christian faith. I think we can disagree and have different opinions and still act in a respectful and accepting way toward our fellow human beings.
Jesus said that they will know we are his disciples by the love we have for one another. Love draws people, but condemnation, judgment and unloving behavior drives them away. Many times, when I say we are to love and accept others I get a lot of comments about being wrong because as christians we are to point out the sins and mistakes of others. They say our responsibility is to make sure others know what they are doing is wrong….at least by our way of interpretation.
I personally do not think we are to act in such judgmental ways. We are told to love God and love others. As far as I am concerned the Holy Spirit will convict the world of sin where conviction is needed. That is between the Spirit and each individual as to what they do and how they respond. We are only to love others.
God is love and love draws people. Rather than judge, condemn, exclude and argue, get out there among humanity and let the love of God flow out of you by the power of the Spirit. There is a whole world of hurting people, both believers and non-believers who could use the encouragement of an accepting person who cares and shows the love of God.
Jim was raised methodist and spent nearly sixty years in the organized church. He and his wife became dissatisfied with the way things were going and became very disillusioned with the weekly service format. After several years of looking for answers and trying different churches, they left the religious system and have been living for God outside the walls of religion and traditional church. Jim started writing a blog where he talks about various topics of christian living in non-religious ways. Jim and his wife live in the Columbus, Ohio area of the USA. They enjoy their family, traveling and meeting people from all walks of life. See all previous articles by Jim Gordon