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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Stepping on Others Will Not Make You Taller

I am short and like most people who are short, I would like to be taller. Shoes with lifts would make me look taller but I would still be the same height. Nothing reasonable will make me taller.

Some people think that stepping on others' backs will make them look taller. They point out others failures, downfalls and discouragements and believe they have triumphed over them. They may think they are taller because they look over the other person but they haven't grown one bit.

I read a newsletter from someone claiming to be a Christian yesterday who proudly stated his theological politics while dismissing that of others. He pointed out that the organizations he supported were gaining in dollars given while the others were suffering. I wondered how this could be Christian. I wondered how he could claim success at the expense of other Christians. I wondered how long his group would put up with this.

If this other theological political group is his enemy he should pray for them. He should pray for them to prosper, not to falter. He should pray that God does good things in their lives. He should pray that God would show them the error (if it is indeed error) of their ways. He should not treat them with the arrogance of a Pharisee who looked down upon Jesus.

The characteristic which shows the world that we are Jesus' disciples is love. Yes, love sometimes is hard. It addresses sin. It even separates the unrepentant Christian from fellowship with other Christians. But this is to bring grief upon the sinner to repent. Christians should not think they are better than others because they have not committed the same sins.

I do not like theological politics. They divide Christians. They put us at odds with each other and communicate that we are not Christians at all. I, for one, am sick of these politics. I don't want to fight with other Christians because they may do some things differently than I do. I do not want to fight over interpretations of the Bible which I don't believe but can understand how one could believe such.

This is not a matter of tolerance. It is a matter of mission. We are in this together to bring people to Jesus Christ. We do so, not out of preference, but out of truth. We do so as an act of love for others. We destroy that ability when we fight among ourselves.

I must say I am no better than the man who has tried to stand on the backs of others in order to look taller. I, too, sin and grieve my Lord. My commitment is to pray for him fervently.

This is not because he is my enemy but because he is my brother.

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