Words matter. What I might think or call good/beneficial, might be different than what someone else thinks or sees as good. What I believe as bad/sinful may not be bad to another. The banter and disagreements over sensitive topics that many people feel differently yet passionately about is overwhelming. Perspectives based on things such as life experience, spiritual/faith beliefs, or just our own pride, help to shape the way we view the world.
But at the end of the day, we each have the right to decide for ourselves (not everyone else) what our individual belief system will involve. What we in our home may see as good or sinful, may not be how it is seen by others. It does not make you wrong and me right. Instead, it just puts us on opposite sides of the same fence. I may paint my side of the fence blue, while you paint your side red. We’re looking at the same fence just different colors. I’m not going to argue with you to paint your side blue. Even though it is the better color 😉 No. You are free to choose. But your choice will not impact my belief in what I consider as the more beautiful color.
A lot of the issues we see being thrown around are being stirred up by those who do not like that not everyone agrees with their choices, their lifestyle, their attitudes, or words. They want others to agree or be okay with what they are doing or saying or believing. They don’t like thinking that there are people who view certain actions as “evil” or “bad”. So, those who believe their way of thinking is the only way, will then put down and demean anyone who crosses their path and doesn’t agree. It’s interesting to me because many years ago, I was in counseling and listened as the counselor told the other party sitting in the room that they were a smooth-talking person who would take down any individual so as to accomplish their agenda. I often think of that day in counseling as I see this type of personality played out on social media as those individuals work to force their agenda on others no matter the cost. Anything to accomplish the agenda of painting the fence the color they deem as the correct color. If you are someone who must demean another to get your point across, then maybe there is something not quite upstanding about the statement you are trying to make. What we believe is our personal choice and right but how we display and share that belief should be done with kindness and respect if shared or displayed at all.
Another thought to consider. For those who are called believers or profess to follow Jesus, beliefs and convictions come differently. We start with Jesus. Often in debates, people will bring Him into the argument by saying He has room at the table for everyone. Agreed. I believe He does. But I also know that He turned over the tables in the temple when people did wrong. He didn’t invite them to sit and share a drink. I am then reminded of the woman caught in adultery. He didn’t tell her she was loved and to then go live a happy life. No. He told her to go and sin no more. He accepted her but with a condition. In saying, “Go and sin no more,” He was not speaking of sinless perfection, but he was warning against a return to sinful lifestyle choices. The words He spoke extended mercy yet demanded holiness. He is the perfect balance of “grace and truth”. With His forgiveness comes the expectation that we will not continue in the same path of disobedience and for those who know God’s love, obedience will be the natural course of action. (John 14:15). Unfortunately, that is not the gospel being taught nowadays. It appears instead, we have a teaching that says, “you can sin as you like because God loves you. There are no consequences for sin because love is all we need.” For me, I cannot ascribe to this particular teaching because it goes against what I believe to be true about the bible and the sacrifice Jesus made. But that is between me, and the conviction placed on my heart by the Holy Spirit. That comes from the personal relationship I have with the Holy Spirit and the truths that He reveals to me as part of that relationship. Only He can change that belief in me. Not the arguments of others. Not the put downs. Not the threats or accusations. Only His work in my life will move me to change the paint on my side of the fence should it need changing. That is why beliefs and convictions are different for believers. We each are at a different stage in our walk with the Spirit which means we may not all be on the same page. So, we need to recognize and acknowledge we all are different and act in kindness. In addition, this world is made up of 7.753 billion people. We are never all going to agree. So that leaves me to ask that you please respect my beliefs as I respect yours. You do not have to agree with what I believe or do, just I as do not have to agree with what you believe or do. We have the right to our individuality. However, though we may differ in those things, I will still choose to love you. Support you. Encourage you. Pray for you. Be your biggest cheerleader. And I can do all those things because you are a human being worthy of respect and love! And that is love!