A few years ago, a Bible scholar who embraces a different theology than mine started attending our church. As our friendship deepened, and finding that we agreed on a lot more than we disagreed on, I asked him to help me lead in a way that was sensitive to Christians like him.
This surprised some of our friends who wondered if we were “drifting to the other side.” But we took the risk and decided that we were going to like one another, regardless of what our “camp” thought of us.
I’ve heard warnings over the years against associating with “those kinds of Christians.” One self-appointed spokesman for my side has even decided that people who think the way my friend thinks aren’t even true Christians.
I think I’d much rather hang out with my friend and talk about what we’re for–grace, mercy, Jesus, the church, love, and justice–than I would like to listen to this other guy pontificate about what “we’re” against.
My friend has invited me to teach some of his disciples about church leadership.
It was a blast!
I find myself looking forward to our next lunch to talk about the Bible. And I always try to seek him out when I’m teaching on a subject I know we disagree on. “Did I represent your side accurately? Was I fair? Do you feel valued in the debate?”
You’re probably thinking about some Christian friend or loved one right now who disagrees with you on the secondary issues of our faith. I encourage you to reach out to them. The last time I checked, it’s good for us to engage in healthy debate. If our views are worthy, then we should be able to discuss them with those who hold a different perspective.
In short, some really good things happen when we risk listening to fellow believers who disagree with us.
Question: When you think about relating to Christians who disagree with you, what scares you most?