Mar 22, 2006

some thoughts on unity

Perfection in any aspect of our lives is something we will never accomplish. We may do some things better than other things, and better than other people, but still, regardless of our high achievement (and accolades in some circles) we will never arrive before God in a perfect state.

Being religiously imperfect is also our lot as humans. We may do everything possible to follow the Bible perfectly; yet we go over-board in one direction and fall far short in another. Not that we don't understand how human and fallible we are, but often we hold on to cherished traditions in our churches for decades without honestly understanding why; we refuse, deny, or don't understand the spiritual consequences of loading our traditional baggage on the shoulders of other Christians, and those seeking to become Christians.

Spiritual change does not come easily and without a fight. When we realize what we have believed for decades is dead wrong it's tough to admit our failures. We need to continually examine our belief system making the necessary changes the Word of God and our conscience demands.

Perhaps our unwillingness to honestly appraise our beliefs and spiritual condition is a product of our fear that a thorough investigation might take us out of our comfort zone and put us in uncharted waters. Change is scary, but often necessary, especially if we are to ever unite with other Christians that also dread change.

Unity in the Christian community will only occur when we finally decide to make a concerted effort to understand our brothers and sisters in other churches rather than focusing on their glaring errors and glossing over their attributes. By dropping our preconceived ideas that have no scriptural basis, and realizing that we are far from perfect, we just might have grounds for a united fellowship.

Like the turtle, we quickly seek spiritual refuge in our shell after we spout our church laws and opinions, and refuse to investigate or consider the thoughts of other Christians. Perhaps we grab the one and only authorized, acceptable, and approved King James Version (some people actually believe this) and bolster our preconceived ideas while happily reflecting on the merits of Christianity without having to be unequally yoked with the other so-called Christian groups.

Will the time ever come when churches will agree to disagree over their opinions, and still work together united to spread the love of God within their communities rather than promote discord? If churches with different names on their signs ever realize unity it will be because of our incessant prayer and God's intervention.


jettybetty said...

The problem some time is--we can't agree what is opinion and what is not.

I do see progress in the area of unity--but like you say change is slow!

With God's intervention--nothing is impossible!

Anne said...

Now that my perspective has been changing, I've really noticed how it seems to be practices that might only reflect an outward standard of perfection that are fought over and people are judged by, missing the heart.

I just read the part of the Bible that talks about the "whitewashed tomb" full of dead men's bones in Matt. 23. Looks good from the outside... but inside??

I know that's part of what had me so bewildered for many years after I left my legalistic church... I was totally caught off guard when they declared me rebellious. Because in my own heart and mind I knew I still wanted to seek and serve God.

Now I'm trying to focus on loving and trusting Him better, not *doing* A B or C pefectly or the way somebody else declares as the only way to do it.

Anyway...great thoughts you've posted here.

jettybetty said...

eeewwwww Anne has some great thoughts--most of what we fight over is external--and, only God knows our hearts anyway.

Larry said...

Change is slow. Where I live nothing changes. Plodding along with our heads in the sand doing little but maintaining the status quo.

Larry said...

Good thoughts.

I see Jesus in the humble and meek in my community, not in the proud and self-righteous attitudes that some Christians exude. As you commented; they are like a "whitewashed tomb."

It's sad that these legalistic churches can't see, or refuse to see, the obvious fact that God's grace and mercy have been extended to people outside their little tribe.

It appears to me that much of the Pharisaical attitudes I see in these churches are found in the older members. Perhaps in time, when the younger members become leaders things will be viewed differently.

We can never do "A B or C" perfectly. Surely God accepts as His children those who humbly strive to follow after Jesus to the best of their ability; if not, I'm in trouble!

Anne said...

The irony is that I have to be careful to not get self-righteous over trying to not get self-righteous!!!!!!

I often find myself falling into this trap to.

Anne said...

Speaking of perfection...Oops, I meant "too."

Larry said...

Don't worry about the small things :)

Often I throw out a word that even baffles the spell checkers. I must have been standing behind the door when perfection was passed out.