Have you ever noticed how often we think we are right about something, only to find out later we are dead wrong? We all tend to think we are right about almost everything for who willingly clings to a false opinion or view. Our opinions are not opinions, but facts. If everyone would just see it my way, we could all get along just fine. Many of us believe, whether we are aware of it or not, that we are balanced and everyone else is either right or left of us. We, our thoughts and opinions, become the defining definition of what is balanced, and therefore correct.
In my last blog, I wrote about "I'll Fix Them," and what we really mean when we function under this illusion, is that we will make them just like us. If everyone thought and acted just like me, then wouldn't life be just peachy. Instead of embracing the differences in marriage and relationships, we become frustrated because not everyone is like us and we fuss and argue about the differences. If they would just change, (think and act as I do) everything would be fine.
What is true today was true in Jesus' day. The story is told of how denominations really started, and I have shared this before, but it is worth repeating.
Some friends brought a blind man to Jesus to be healed. Jesus asked him "Do you believe that I am able to do this?" After the man answered yes, Jesus then gave them the formula to get blind eyes healed, "According to your faith will it be done to you," Jesus said. Then Jesus touched his eyes and they were opened. All those watching the miracle then "knew" how this eye healing stuff works. You say the formula and place your hands on his eyes. Thus, "The laying on of hands to heal blind people by the formula ministry" was birthed.
Sometime later, other people brought another blind man to Jesus. Jesus gave them the formula of spitting on this man's eyes and placing His hands on him and the man's eyes were opened. Those who watched now knew the correct formula to open blind eyes. Thus, "The spitting in the eyes of blind people so they can be healed society" was birthed.
Still later, a third blind man was brought to Jesus by another set of folks. Those watching saw the "Spitting on the ground and making mud to heal eyes club" being birthed.
From this day on the three camps were at odds with each other. Camp A would say, "The only proper way to heal blind eyes is by repeating the specific words of our Lord and placing your hands on the blind person's eyes." "No, no, no," says camp B, "The only spiritual way to heal blind eyes is by spitting in their eyes, any other way is of the devil." Camp C was shouting by this time, "You must spit on the ground, what kind of insensitive person would spit in the eyes of a poor blind person?" And, the fighting has been going on for two thousand years...
Ridiculous, you say, that does not happen today, you mutter, but all of us spend time in camps. It may not be how to heal blind eyes, but what about these camps: Worship styles, TV/entertainment standards, dating/courtship, types of education for our children, how we dress, speak, use our spare time, how we minister, evangelize, how many children we may or may not have, where we go for vacation, how we spend our money, what type of house we live in, hair length, whether we like sports or not, how we pray, which translation is correct, preaching styles, and the list could go on forever.
Estimates regarding how many denominations there are that share space on the planet range between 3,000-42,000 depending on the source. Wouldn't it be logical that each would probably believe that they are balanced and the preferred one or they would not be in it? Inherent in holding strong opinions is that we believe we are right in holding them or we would not keep on holding them. If we believe we are right, then it is just the next step in assuming that anyone that does not hold our view must be wrong, or at least not as informed as we are.
But, I am right in my opinions and everyone else is entitled to it, we joke, but when will we stop exceeding what is written in the Scripture and start obeying it instead? There are countless areas that we overstep our limits regarding each other in which we have no business doing so. God is very creative and is not limited to our opinions of how someone else's life should be lived. We are commanded to love one another and leave the perfecting of one another to God.
If you have matured in some fashion and others around you have not, perhaps God is not working on this area in their life. Maybe God has placed a higher priority with them on other issues. Maybe, you needed that growth sooner than they did. The truth is we don't know and it really is not our business. I am not referring to sin issues. If sin is involved, we have clear instructions on how to deal with the sin. I am referring to the thousands of non-sinful choices that we make as individuals following Christ.
When we can move to appreciating the differences in each other instead of criticizing them, we will be maturing in Christ. Jesus was able to heal in many ways, and one was not right and the others wrong. Jesus was able to love a wide variety of people from all walks of life, they did not all have to be the same. The only requirement He gave was to follow Him as Lord and to learn to love one another. We would all benefit by memorizing the following Scripture:
Romans 14:4 - "Who are you to judge someone else's servant? To his own Master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand."(NIV)
Let us quit knocking the legs out from under each other by criticizing and putting each other down. Instead, let us help one another stand firm in the grace of our Lord Jesus until the day He returns or we go home! Holding strong views and convictions is not the problem, believing that everyone else is wrong who does not agree with us is. After all, there is more than one way to heal a blind man!