Faith Unites. Religion Divides.
If the Baptists and the Methodists and the Presbyterians can’t get along, is it any wonder you can’t get the Mormons, the JW’s, and the Catholics to see eye to eye? And if they don’t get along, what possible reason would there be to imagine you could get Christians, Muslims, Hindu, Buddhists, Atheists, and whatever else to play nice?
Faith Lifts. Religion Oppresses.
Jude 9 But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, was disputing about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a blasphemous judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you.”
While I don’t believe in “tolerance” as the word is used in modern political dialog, I also don’t believe I’m anyone’s judge, jury and executioner. Not long ago in a discussion with a friend I am concerned for I questioned them about a choice they made. It is a choice which, had it been my choice, there is no doubt in my mind it would have been sin. This other person did not think so and in fact said they’d consulted scripture as well as listening to the Spirit and had no conviction of sin. This verse from Jude was a blessing to me because it allowed me to hold my tongue. Jesus did not come to condemn the world, but to make possible salvation. The world condemns itself and does not require any help from those of us who claim to be believers. The Lord is the ultimate Judge. While we are called to have sound judgment and judge rightly, I think there’s a clear difference between decision making on one’s own behalf and trying to stand in the Lord’s place to condemn another soul. Only God, who created the human heart, can know what an individual heart contains. According to Jesus, belief makes the difference. What we do stems from what we believe and what we do will betray what we believe. But ultimately, it all comes back to belief. If we share faith, we share one Christ, one Spirit, one Father. We have strength, love and hope. If we condemn, we divide. If we condemn we sap strength, we crush hope, and we hate. I read the bible and everywhere I look I see it is a book about God and about His divine love for humanity and His redemption of us. True enough there are consequences, but the eternal consequences – the ones that matter – are faced individually. I love you enough to tell you what I believe is the Truth, but I am not your judge, jury and executioner. I don’t need to be – and you don’t need me to be.