When public debate erupted over a controversial Singapore law, it divided Christians with differing views. Some called others “narrow-minded” or accused them of compromising their faith.
Controversies can cause sharp divisions among God’s family, bringing much hurt and discouraging people. I’ve been made to feel small over personal convictions on how I apply the Bible’s teachings to my life. And I’m sure I’ve been equally guilty of criticizing others I disagree with.
I wonder if the problem lies not in what or even how we express our views, but in the attitudes of our hearts when we do so. Are we just disagreeing with views or seeking to tear down the people behind them?
Yet there are times when we need to address false teaching or explain our stand. Ephesians 4:2–6 reminds us to do so with humility, gentleness, patience, and love. And, above all else, to make every effort “to keep the unity of the Spirit” (v. 3).
Some controversies will remain unresolved. God’s Word, however, reminds us that our goal should always be to build up people’s faith, not tear them down (2 Timothy 2:25). Are we putting others down to win an argument? Or are we allowing God to help us understand His truths in His time and His way, remembering that we share one faith in one Lord (Ephesians 4:4–6)?
Several years ago my sons and I spent a few days camping in the Selway–Bitterroot Wilderness in Northern Idaho. It’s grizzly bear habitat, but we carried bear spray, kept our campsites clean, and anticipated no major grizzly encounters.
One evening, in the middle of the night, I heard Randy scramble around trying to get out of his sleeping bag. I grabbed my flashlight and turned it on, expecting to see him in the clutches of an enraged grizzly.
There, sitting upright on its haunches and waving its paws in the air was a field mouse about 4” tall. It had Randy’s cap firmly clenched in its teeth. The little creature had tugged and tugged until he pulled Randy’s cap from his head. As I laughed in relief, the mouse dropped the cap and scampered away. We crawled back into our sleeping bags. I, however, fully adrenalized, couldn’t get back to sleep and began to think about another predator—the devil.
Consider Satan’s temptation of Jesus (Matthew 4:1–14). He countered his enticements with the Scriptures. With each answer, Jesus reminded Himself that God had spoken on this issue and therefore He would not disobey. This caused the devil to flee.
Although Satan wants to devour us, it’s good to remember that he’s a created being like the little rodent. Jesus, “the one who is in [us,] is greater than the one who is in the world” (1 John 4:4).
Was what we consider the “sexual revolution” of the 1960s actually a step back when it comes to how we think about our sexuality? Explore how Christians thought about their bodies in the first century and how it may be different from the way our culture thinks now.