It's Not About Who's Right Or Who's Wrong
by Stephen Sanders, Audio/Video Editor for Salem Web Network
It's not about who's right or who's wrong. It is about glorifying God no matter who's doing what.
In my role here at Salem Web Network, I have the privilege of being able to see the best (and worse) the Body of Christ has to offer. Unfortunately, it is probably more bad than good in a lot of cases. But I guess it makes sense when you think about what Jesus said: Matthew 7:12
This variety in the Body of Christ has been an ongoing struggle for me since the work environment I’d been in for the 5 years prior was very sheltered. I was working at a church, so I only saw that perspective on the Christian walk. But now I’m exposed to what seems to be millions of different outlooks on what it means to be a Christian.
A recent google search revealed to me that there are approximately 38,000 denominations of the Christian faith. I suppose you could probably lump a lot of those together into a few hundred general categories if you wanted to, or even protestant/catholic if you really, really wanted to. But the point is...even if it was 380 instead of 38,000...that is A LOT. But back to the perspectives...
With these 10’s of thousands of denominations come even more views on what is right and what is wrong. What is “Christian” behavior and what isn’t and so forth and so on. It is (and has been for me) a very easy thing to get caught up in if one isn’t careful. In a recent devotional I wrote titled, “don’t let foolishness get the best of you” I shared how easy it has become for Christians to share their voice more boldly online. It’s been over 2 months since I published that article and I’m still processing this whole ordeal; trying to find my place in all of this chaos.
Yesterday I think I finally came to a conclusion: No one is totally right. (Brilliant, I know) No matter how confident we may sound when we claim that, “__________ is what the Bible says about _________,” none of us are right. How could we be? We still live in a sin-cursed world, we all still make mistakes, all still fall short of perfection that only God possesses.
Some of us sound really smart with our proclamations and it can be very easy for someone like myself to become mesmerized with a specific stance on certain matters. But what happens is that these perspectives, once taken to a certain level, become idols of our worship. And that goes for disagreeing with the perspectives just as much as showing allegiance. Let me give you an example.
Pastor _______ writes a book on ______ perspective on ________. Some agree with his refreshing insight while others accuse him of blasphemy. 1000’s of people chime in and before you know it, it has become a bigger topic amongst Christian circles than the Gospel itself. Isn’t that more evil than good? Isn’t that behavior exalting the flesh and not the Spirit?
It becomes even more disturbing when it becomes more personal.
A first time visitor walks into a church sanctuary or youth group that is more about the issues than it is the Gospel message. They develop a perspective of what Jesus is like from these encounters. After all, that’s why people come to church. To hear about Jesus, right? Will they leave confused not knowing what they’ve just witnessed? Perhaps worse, will they become fascinated and faithfully follow a “man of god” who isn’t Gospel-centered in his preaching.
Galatians 5:16-26 says, "…walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. Now the works of the flesh are evident: …enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger,rivalries, dissensions, divisions…and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love…peace, patience, kindness…gentleness, self-control. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another."
So, realizing the harm I’ve witnessed first hand on such matters, I’ve come to the conclusion that humility is key. As a Christian, I must never make certain things “sins” that the Bible doesn’t claim to be sin. I must never make certain spiritual gifts bigger than they actually are. I must never become so involved in perspectives that I lose sight of how the Bible tells me to conduct myself. I must never make definitive statements about anything other than Jesus being God and the only way to eternal life. Because when I do that, it becomes more about me and less about Him.
Intersecting Faith and Life: I’ve been forcing myself to not become a part of such matters, not because I’m so fantastic, but because I think about how this causes others to perceive our faith. What must it look like to people who don’t believe in Jesus when we act like this? Is this something you’d want to be a part of? Analyze your walk with me today and ask God if there are stances you are taking that overshadow Him.