You never know when an Aha moment arrives. I was reading a Christian chick-lit book “Queen Esther & the Second Graders of Doom” by Allie Pleiter (Steeple Hill, 2006) for entertainment purposes only and unexpectedly came across with a thought-provoking analysis. Pastor Mark in the story said after a church disagreement: “I am just happy to get them to care at all. Opinion is not my enemy, apathy is.” Indeed!! Opinion is not my enemy, apathy is!
I’ve always struggled with arguments within church. The Bible tells us to live in unity: “May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” (John 17:23) I have desired harmony and unity and felt a little awkward when arguing over some details had taken over from the sharing of the good news of Jesus Christ. But this quote gave me a revelation: it really is okay to disagree. It is better to be hot or cold than lukewarm like Revelations 3:15-16 tells us: “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.”
Apathy is worse than disagreement ever could be. Lukewarm apathy is our enemy. It is the antithesis of unity. When you don’t care, you don’t disagree. You just let it go. ‘You Could Not Care Less’ mentality is typical in apathy. Real unity allows disagreement. Even feisty disagreement is a sign of caring. Real unity is about us growing in grace towards full maturity of faith where our focus is on God not on our personal interests.
Just like it reads in Ephesians 4: 12-14: “”So that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming.”
We are, indeed, called to grow in grace so that we all would reach unity and become mature attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. That’s a life-long process. We are on pilgrimage; we are on our way home to God. We are called to live in grace, mature in Christ and pray for peace and unity. But we are not to be scared of disagreements. It’s better to disagree than live in apathy.
Show us how to constructively disagree.
Keep us from becoming lukewarm.
Instead bring us to unity in the faith.
Help us to grow in your grace.
Guide us to reach maturity in Christ.
In Jesus’ name,
Q4U: What is in your opinion our worst enemy?
Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you find your way in the midst of disagreements!
This post has previously been published 11/2009.
Photo courtesy of Bruce Jennings