I wonder what makes Christians so different from each other. Jesus speaks about what differentiates those with the Spirit from those without, but how can the same Spirit, the same Helper, lead faithful people to two opposing conclusions?
Of course, the easy answer is that the side I disagree with is not listening to God’s Spirit at all. But the easy answer is simply not true. The people who’ve come to different conclusions than I have love Jesus just like I do. They welcome the help of the Spirit just like I do. They study the scriptures and pray too.
It’s time we stop thinking of our spiritual siblings as “have’s and have not’s,” as if we have the Spirit and they do not. Our anger with each other does nothing to help the world see Jesus. It only ridicules and dismisses people who Jesus loves.
We will never agree on every point of theology or be completely in agreement about the new carpet for the sanctuary. We just won’t. Though I pose the question, I don’t expect to ever have a complete answer. But we do have the same Spirit—that of the God who created the diversity of seven billion people and adores every one of them. So perhaps there is room for disagreement within the Spirit.
The Spirit is truth, and I pray we will all figure out what the truth is. I doubt the truth is that my theology is right and yours is wrong. I think it must begin with what Jesus taught us: love God and love your neighbor. Perhaps the Spirit is here to help us learn how to love each other through all of our disagreements and hurts so that we can move toward a better view of the way God reigns.
Who within the Christian community is hard for you to love? Take a moment to remember that they are a child of God and pray for them.
God, forgive me when I forget how much you love those I disagree with. Spirit, lead me toward greater compassion. Amen.