I have, over an extended period of time, observed an unsettling reality, within my own thinking process and the thinking process of others, within the Christian community, and also of those who are outside of the Christian community. I am going to try to attempt to explain what I see and the consequences that I think it produces. The bottom line is that I am just putting this “out there” to those who frequently or infrequently read my blog posts, to ascertain, as to whether, you see the same process at work that I see and if you see the consequences that I see.
There are, of necessity, means at our disposal in which to determine, whether; one particular issue we are looking at is of more importance than another. Consequently, in order to determine that one issue is a “secondary issue” as compared with another, we elevate a “primary issue” to be of more importance than a “secondary issue”. I see the ramifications of this thought process being utilized, to justify many of the decisions that we make. And not only is this thought process responsible for our elevating one topic or area of importance, over another, but it also produces many areas of disagreement that we commonly encounter, both within the Christian community and outside of the Christian community.
One of the dangers of elevating one area of importance, over another, is that we may inadvertently (either intentionally or unintentionally) drop other areas of importance to a lesser standing of importance. Obviously, everything that we think about, cannot of necessity, be rendered as of the same importance as all other things. As an example, remembering to buy peanut butter is not as important as remembering to pay our rent or pay our mortgage on time. What most of us do is prioritize what we ourselves consider important. Our priorities become our subjective focus of importance. The problem being, what you deem as a priority and what I deem as a priority, can and does frequently differ.
To some, what matters is the perceived “common good”, or another way of looking at this is that the end justifies the means, or over rides “secondary” acknowledged deficiencies or imperfections. We see this play out in politics or in others areas of importance, such as Christian ecumenical endeavours or our acceptance of, or rejection of, TV productions such as “The Chosen”.
To others, the means whereby we achieve our goal or come to agreement, is equally as important as achieving the goal we are pursuing. Or in other words, if the means whereby we achieve our goal is not in accordance with the standard we have set as our goal, then we are using substandard means to achieve a desired standard goal.
The difference between these two opposing realities is the standard that we use to determine what is considered as a “primary” or “secondary” issue, or for lack of better words, what we consider as “acceptable” or “non-acceptable”.
The way of the world is prone to accepting sub-standards as acceptable. We compromise, we accept partial gains, over not achieving any of our goals at all. How power and majority rule is maintained in politics and ecumenical endeavours are prime examples. The way of the world seeks unity in compromise.
The way of the Kingdom of God differs greatly from the way of the world. The way is narrow and restrictive, it demands and sets holiness is all aspects, without compromise. Unity in truth is stressed and required, over unity in untruth. When God’s Holy Word tells us that “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among mankind by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12), this is not open for debate or compromise. That declaration is absolute. The Kingdom of God divides.
There is only one acceptable standard that God’s Holy Word validates and that is not our ways, as in the ways of the world, it is God’s ways, as in accordance with God’s Holy Word. Isaiah 55:8 comes to mind: “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord.”
I don’t personally see this division in relative priorities or what is considered a relative secondary issue changing any time soon, both within the Christian community and also without. And please note that I do not profess to perfectly follow all of God’s ways or adhere to all of God’s thoughts. But when my decision to accept or reject, differs from yours, the reasoning for my decision, falls back on what I am trying to follow, which is what I perceive as God’s ways, versus my own ways or the worlds ways. And those precepts and guidance are objective in accordance with what I understand and try to follow, as revealed within God’s Holy Word, of His ways and His thoughts.
Like the Apostle Paul indicated in Philippians 3:12, I myself have not achieved perfection in all that I do, which includes my decisions. So if we disagree, which is going to happen, sometimes more and sometimes less, it is because we (as in the Christian community) all are in varying stages, I would hope, of heading towards His goal for us.
I do welcome your thoughts.
Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!