Wednesday, June 7, 2017


Many skeptics claim that religion is destructive and creates conflict because it separates us into warring camps. One just wrote to me that “Religion is polarizing.” I responded:

“So true! We tend to affiliate with those who think as we do and discount those who don’t. We Christians are no different. However, our Lord reveals many things to us to counterbalance this chauvinistic and potentially dangerous tendency.

So many Biblical teachings militate against this tendency. For one thing, we are instructed that we are the least:

·       1 Corinthians 1:26-31  For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

Consequently, we are deprived of any basis for pride. Also, we are instructed to love even our enemies:

·       Romans 12:14-21 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Of course, we often fail to live up to this demanding standard, but when we do, we confess our sins, find forgiveness, and try again.

I must add, though, that we cannot even begin to live this way without the assurance that we will be with our Savior forever. Therefore, we need not set our hopes on our present comforts and privileges. Our hopes are invested in the next life, but this investment gives surpassing purpose for this life.”

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