Lately, there has been quite a bit of discussion in the church.
And that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
In fact, I’d even say it is a positive improvement.
What isn’t, is the way some people are going about these discussions.
Slander, personal attacks, and assumptions are all sanctioned under the guise of “supporting/telling the truth” on one side or the other. This is unacceptable. It is true that we are to stand for truth. But it is not true, that in doing so, we are allowed to disrespect the person or beliefs of another child of God. Jesus calls us to respect each other. He does not call us to harm, or slander, or assume. Love speaks the truth, yes, but in love, in respect.
Truth Himself never calls us to disrespect another human being or their belief systems. We are often more respectful to people outside our faith community, than in. Even if we truly believe that another individual is wrong, we seek to evangelize with patience and tenderness and respect. So why do we have a different attitude toward those inside the church?
To respect is not to support. The Dictionary defines respect as follows: “To have due regard for the feelings, wishes, rights or traditions.” It means we care more about the person than their theology.
“All things therefore whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, even so do ye also unto them: for this is the law and the prophets.” Matt. 7:12
“Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.”1 Pet. 2:17
We cannot move forward in the church without respect towards each other. If we are to work out our differences, we have to be willing to respect other individuals and their beliefs. That doesn’t mean that we have to agree, but rather, that we take care to be kind, to be tactful, and to consider the implications of our words before we speak.
A culture of respect. It starts with me. It starts with you.