Most of us are tired of the constant bickering on issues, seeing one side as “wrong” and our side as “right.” It doesn’t matter if it is regarding politics or religion, lifestyles or the environment. We are easily polarized.
Church history is full of times of differences of opinion. Believers can be united and still disagree! Today that may seem impossible. Yet, the Bible shows leaders arguing. Paul and Barnabas had such a strong disagreement that they went their separate ways. Another time, in what would be the first all-church council, the believers had a very difficult time. We don’t know how long the council lasted, but it wasn’t over in a day or two; it probably lasted at least a few weeks.
Differing opinions is not always a negative thing. We need to hear different perspectives and stories of how God is working in our lives. This is the work of the Holy Spirit, even if it doesn’t feel like it. It is okay to “agree to disagree.” That’s the adult way of seeing life.
There is a phrase accredited to St. Augustine (probably he quoted someone earlier than he) and used by many people down through the centuries: “On essentials, Unity; on nonessentials, Liberty; in all things, Charity.”
I’m working on showing charity whenever and wherever I find myself disagreeing with someone. I want to be seen as a person who cares for others. Let’s be people who seek to understand more than being understood.
• Fred La Plante is the pastor of the Juneau Church of the Nazarene. “Living & Growing” is a weekly column written by different authors and submitted by local clergy and spiritual leaders. It appears every Saturday on the Juneau Empire’s Faith page.