Phil Us Up!
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January 19, 2016, 12:00 AM

I really need some help!


     It seems to happen to me at least occasionally. It did again yesterday. The question, “now where do you preach?” When I tell them, I can almost predict the answer. “Oh, ya’ll don’t believe in music” or some variation of our differences in worship.

     Now this is not an article on correct worship practices, but I do find it troubling when folks associate us with things other than Christ. I’d much rather someone ask, “Aren’t ya’ll the ones who feed the homeless? Care for the orphans? Run the prison ministry? Love their neighbor? Get along so well with those you disagree with?”

     We could discuss the worship practices of the church for hours, (and I have). But I have finally come to understand this, no matter what there will always be lots of folks who disagree with me on lots of things. The question for me, and I hope for everyone else, is how do I respond when faced with doctrinal matters that some classify as issues and issues that others deem doctrine? I’m really trying here!

     First, respond righteously. Responding in anger, (guilty here) or arrogance, (and here) often negates the cause of Christ. I must refuse to give into and respond with anger because I believe someone is wrong. Even if they are! Fighting with my brothers will extinguish any light that we both should have in this world. Remember, it takes two to fight.

     Second, build bridges. Instead of attacking, gossiping, or thinking poorly of my brother or sister, why not offer time to sit down with a cup of coffee and find out why we might see some things differently. Ask questions. Search the Scripture with an open heart and be willing to win a friend, especially if you can’t come to the same conclusion.

     Who am I to say that those who have come to different conclusions about some things, can’t be servants of the Master. That really is His call, not mine. We need to remember that just because it’s different, doesn’t always mean it’s wrong.

     Christ must be our example. When the disciples were aggravated about those working in the name of Jesus, but who weren’t part of their group, they took matters straight to the Man. You can almost see the twelve stomping their way to Jesus, ready to let him know what those other folks were up to. Those folks hadn’t been living with Jesus, walking where he walked, and watching what he did. They were outsiders, and here when Jesus could have prohibited or chastised them, he doesn’t. Instead, He offers grace and encouragement, “Do not stop him, for the one who is not against you is for you” (Luke 9:50). I need that lesson.

     Our mission isn’t to defend the Gospel, but to simply proclaim it by our words and the way we love God, Christ, and others. The reaction we give to our brothers and neighbors has to be the first statement of that love.

     There are always going to be people we disagree with on issues and doctrine.  However, how we disagree is just as important as the things we disagree about. We can never allow anything to set aside the grace that we have received. We all need it because we are all wrong. When I don’t give it, I act like I don’t need it. If I don’t need it, Christ died for nothing.

 “I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!" Gal. 2:21

Philip

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