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Is It Better To Be Loving Or Right?

God’s salvation and acceptance into His family is available to all people, without distinction. That inclusive, wonderful truth throws open the door to God for all so that in the end there will be people from every tongue, tribe and nation worshiping the Lamb of God, Christ (Revelation 5:9). God’s multi-ethnic, multi-class, multi-generational diverse Church is yet one body, one people, one family. When someone places their faith in Christ and His work of death and resurrection those people gain new spiritual life. However in one sense they are still who they are. Their passions, likes, opinions, life forming experiences may all remain.

Is God calling His Church to unity or uniformity in the disputable matters or “gray areas” of our lives? How is the widely diverse Church expected to live in unity with each other in the midst of varying opinions? How are we to respond to each other in matters of conscience when God has not clearly spoken on a specific topic?

Although God has not said everything about everything and some of the specifics of our contemporary lives are not explicitly addressed in the Scriptures, God has clearly answered the above questions multiple times in His word. Consider Romans 12:16:

Romans 12:16 - Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

The eternal triune God, who exists in perfect harmony, desires and therefore calls His people to live in harmony with each other. He welcomed all believers in Christ into His harmony so that we would in turn extend His harmony to all in His family, even in matters of opinions where disagreement is found.

Disunity has always been a major problem with God’s people. Even the Old Testament records the civil wars and family fights among the people of Israel, and almost every local church mentioned in the New Testament had contentious divisions. Consider the New Testament writings below:

  • The Corinthians were divided over human leaders, and some of the members were even suing each other (1 Corinthians 1:10–13; 6:1–8).

  • The Galatian saints were “biting and devouring” one another (Galatians 5:15).

  • The saints in Ephesus and Colossi had to be reminded of the importance of Christian unity (Ephesians 4:1–3; Colossians 2:1–2).

  • In Philippi, two women were at odds with each other and, as a result, were splitting the church (Philippians 4:1–3).

The overarching lesson of the Romans 14 and half of chapter 15 is that harmonious relationships in the body of Christ are critical to God and unity must win out in God’s Church. Unity in the Church is more important than agreement on debatable, less significant matters in the Christian life. Disputable matters should not disrupt Christian oneness.

When it comes to disputable matters, “gray areas,” or our opinions, is it better to be right or loving? In all cases, God will say we are called to love and unity in disputable matters.

Over the next few blog entries we will further develop what Paul is contending in Romans chapter 14 and 15.

Thanks for joining Christ on His mission to make disciples as we depend on His Spirit.


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