For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of yourself more highly than you ought to think, but to think with sober judgment… Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are. Romans 12:3, 16
As we head into the midterm elections this week, the following meditation by Harry Robert Fox, longtime preacher in the Churches of Christ and missionary pioneer in Japan, seems timely. In it, he challenges us to recognize the value of the diversity among us.
“As far back as I can remember, we in the Restoration Movement have found it virtually impossible to acknowledge our need for each other if we happen to be opposite types. We tend continually to polarize into ‘right’ and ‘left’ sides and cut each other off. Thus, in spite of Paul’s saying in I Corinthians 12:21 that the eye cannot say to the hand that is has no need of it, we go right ahead and act as if the right and left hands should say they have no need of each other! Moreover, some members who are caught in the crossfire begin to wish that the church had no right or left hands at all but that it simply be a body without limbs.”
“…when opposites have reacted to each other instead of interacting, they have driven each other to extremes which were both erroneous. The resulting divisions, therefore, could not be characterized as one side being wholly right and the other side wholly wrong, but rather both sides being partly right and partly wrong. If they had stayed together instead of polarizing and cutting each other off, each side would have contributed toward correcting the erroneous tendencies of the other and saved it from going too far.”
We may be tempted to behave as if it doesn’t matter how we treat each other, provided we believe we are “in the right.” But frankly, when we stop treating one another in Christ-like ways we stop “winning,” no matter how much validity we believe is in our arguments. Paul’s words to the churches in Rome will serve us well if we strive to live them out together: “Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor…”
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