Luke 9:49-50 NIV “Master,” said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we tried to stop him, because he is not one of us.”“Do not stop him,” Jesus said, “for whoever is not against you is for you.”
These two verses seem to just pop into the narrative in Luke amidst all the other different things that are occuring as recorded in Chapter 9. Almost like a small side note if you will. Yet is strikes me as noteworthy that Jesus corrected the disciples and you will note what they based their objection on, “because he is not one of us“.
The last couple of weeks has been unsettling for me. Nothing totally off the wall but I have encountered three instances where I have interacted with others and either directly or indirectly caused some friction because of my opposition to that which I determined was “he is not one of us”, or to be more accurate, “he or she is not like me”.
One instance had to do with quoting and disseminating Biblical scriptures or overviews from what I would consider a untrustworthy source, another instance had to do with a very common practise within Christianity not being followed by a fellow Christian and finally, the last instance had to do with interaction with an immediate family member who in my mind, consistently displays a lack of empathy for the considerations of others. Short story is that is hasn’t been a great couple of weeks.
We hear a lot of discussion about the need for Christian unity and at the same time there seems to be an abundance of division and as it would seem, sometimes I inadvertently seem to get caught up in the middle of the division aspect, which I am not particularly fond of. My preference is to be at one with my fellow brothers and sisters in the Lord and in essence, with all people that I encounter, especially family matters. I don’t really like confrontation, so if at all possible, I try to avoid it whenever I can.
The first instance mentioned involved The Passion Translation Bible (TPT), which I still believe is a nefarious tool closely associated with the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) movement that I and many others consider it to be based on doctrines which are anything but Biblical. The criticism I voiced was not welcomed and the individual with whom I spoke to, well we mutually agreed to disagree and we left it at that. Civil but curt might be an accurate overview of what transpired between the two of us. I still believe that unsound doctrine does have to be addressed and sound doctrine does have to be defended. Disagreements between what is sound doctrine and what is not sound doctrine does cause division. Church history and the various denominations refers.
The second instance involved what I thought was an innocent “suggestion” to consider what my Christian brother had already chosen to reject for himself and in truth, I did cross the line, because the mere suggestion was an infringement on and criticism of, his chosen stance. Short story is I got my hand slapped and I deserved it. Open mouth, insert foot. Not only what we say, but how we say it and if we say it is important, because in many cases, the presentation predetermines the response. That was probably a good example of unnecessary division caused by my lack of not fully considering how my “suggestion” would be received. Apparently I still need work on that, which should not come as a surprise to those who really know me. I prefer to call it “additional fine tuning”. I did apologize and my Christian brother graciously did forgive me. It happens.
The last instance involved interaction with an immediate family member where a history of not having empathy for the feelings and considerations of others has been prevalent for a long time. Most times my wife and I can handle the lack of empathy for our age, physical and financial limitations, but periodically a particular instance occurs and we react and threats of division then occurs from the offending source. This one is probably the most difficult of all because it involves our emotions with respect to love and caring. Stress at our age (74) is not our friend. Sometimes division is necessary to re-establish acceptable boundaries.
I dislike division, it causes discord which separates us rather than bringing us together. Yet, there are some justified instances where division is necessary, as Jesus indicated in Matthew 10:34-39 NIV. And, as indicated, in Luke 9:49-50 NIV above, there are times when it is not necessary. The hard part is discerning the times when each applies.
I don’t think we can ignore defending sound doctrine or not agreeing with what God calls sin. Divisions will result because opinions do differ, it is inevitable. But I also don’t think that we need to be critical on every variance. The strong in faith are supposed to accommodate the weak when feasible (Romans 14:1 NIV). And not all disagreements are necessarily weakness.
Romans 14:10-12 NIV states “You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. It is written:
“‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord,
‘every knee will bow before me;
every tongue will acknowledge God.’”
So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.”
Considering that each of us will give an account of ourselves to God, it would behoove us to give serious consideration to all that we do. My mind would love to be sitting on the beach, enjoying the surroundings, not involved in turmoil and disagreements but that option is not always presented to us.
I hope you all have a blessed weekend!
Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!