Over the course of the last two months or so, I’ve seen more division within the body of Christ than I’ve seen in quite some time. No doubt, it’s always been there even before the Law of Moses but for some reason, I’ve been seeing quite a bit of it lately and I believe it’s time that I speak my piece. Let me start by saying that I believe that a certain amount of debate within our faith is healthy. It shows that we care deeply about pleasing God and that we desire proper interpretation of his word. However, a lot of the conversation that I’ve seen is barely rooted in loving concern. It’s rooted in pure, unadulterated judgment and it comes from a place of “I’m a better Christian than you”. I’ve expressed my disdain for unwarranted judgment in the past in an open letter that I penned to the ‘judgemental Christian’. I can assure you that nothing has changed. Christianity or better yet, a relationship with Christ has never been a one-size-fits-all type deal yet we judge people by their differences as though we all came with the same blueprint. Here’s the thing: my walk with Christ isn’t your walk and your walk isn’t mine and that is such a beautiful thing. It means that Christ’s promise of individual relationship is real. While the Bible is the same for us all and while belief in the Trinity is an absolute, our experiences, our upbringing, and the encounters that we’ve had with God are all different. This means that serving him with my gifts, experiencing him in my prayer time, and going out into the world in his name may look different for me than it does for you. I delight in this because, well, the world doesn’t need more cookie cutter Christians. The very thing that may be a focal point of judgment for someone, could be the same thing that God has blessed them with to reach a totally different group of people. The Apostle Paul says this thing that I love and I think that it would be incredible if we took this into consideration before we Bible beat one another when it comes to matters of religious ambiguity:
But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless. Titus 3:9
Unprofitable and useless. I’d like to think that when the Apostle Paul wrote this, he knew that there was another element involved here. Our faith is so much more than just knowledge of the word and as a Bible enthusiast, I am in no way denying the importance of scripture. I am, however, saying that knowledge of the Bible absent the Holy Spirit is just plain legalism. It is through the Spirit that we are changed and that we find truth—not Twitter threads. Every time we sit behind our smartphones and leave a self-righteous comment in an attempt to change someone’s heart, in that moment we jump in front of the Holy Spirit and try to do his job ourselves. It is our job to love, pray, and give grace. This is especially true in the moments where we come across a believer that loves God but is struggling with sin. We have all, and we still do, struggle with sin daily. Deliverance is a process that is fueled by the powerful grace of God. In my past, I struggled with sexual sin and I dishonored God in almost every area of my life. Today, I have laid down my life for his glory and although I’m not perfect, it is only by his grace that I am where I am today. Romans 12:2 tells us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Notice the operative word, “renewing”…the present tense of ‘renew’. This indicates that this is an ongoing process. As we mature spiritually, as we consume the word and the teaching of the Holy Spirit, we begin to gain a new mindset. It never stops growing. So appreciate where your brother or sister is in their walk, give them grace as their mind is renewing, and pray for them. Not in a selfish manner but in a way that acknowledges that God is the sculptor and that his grace reigns supreme in their life. Because while there may be similarities, no two faith walks will ever be the same.