“Mom, she hit me!”
“(child’s name) why did you hit your brother!?”
“Because he hit me first!”
Isn’t it amazing how children quickly learn the art of telling one side of a story? They don’t need to be taught it. They don’t need to practice it. They don’t need to be encouraged in it. They are experts from day one of telling certain parts of a story, the parts least likely to get them in to trouble.
Every parents, every teacher, Sunday school teacher, administrator… anyone that has had to deal with conflict on a regular basis understands the truth “there are two sides to every story.” Even if the people involved won’t acknowledge it.
Apparently our society needs the reminder as well.
I am so tired. There is division on all sides. Conflict escalates quickly and becomes intensely personal. Adults act like children. ‘My opinion is right and if you disagree you’re ignorant and potentially dangerous’ is a common feeling behind much that’s said even if those words are never specifically spoken.
Church, what in the world are we doing?
Your opinion may be right, but is it always the end story? Can the other person have any validity in the way they see the world? Do you see both sides of every issue? Can you explain why someone would disagree with you and do it without belittling them? Can you disagree with someone and walk away still friends?
We have no one to blame but ourselves. It is not the governments’ fault or Hollywood or CNN. We are the ones who have lost sight of what it means to be disciples of Jesus.
Yes, Jesus had righteous anger. And yes, there are situations out there that should make us angry and cause us to burn with a desire for justice, for the truth to be known, for those who are wrong to be taken down! And yes, we can even pray for people abusing their power to be removed and for those who are lying to be discovered and disgraced.
It’s ok to hate the wrongs we see and to acknowledge the evil being done under the sun!
But how are we treating the Believer who sees things differently?
How do we respond on social media when someone doesn’t agree with us?
How are we talking to our children about those who voted differently or those who responded with excitement to news we thought was terrible?
Can we acknowledge that there are two sides to every story? That maybe the person on the opposite side isn’t trying to ruin the world but thinks their opinion really is the best option? Are we so sure of ourselves that we can stand in judgement over every single person who thinks differently?
Yes, there are issues that are clearly right and clearly wrong. Yes, there are issues that have to divide us because we cannot agree to disagree on them. But there are so many other issues out there we can see differently and still both love Jesus.
I see part of the story, usually the part that makes me appear less guilty. You see another part of the story, probably the part that does the same for you. Maybe, by the grace of God, we can see more of truth when we come together.
Ephesians 4 states “Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.”
Church, we are called to be better than the world around us! We are called to be united under the banner of Jesus the King! To live a life worthy of that calling. And sometimes that means we don’t get the last word. We don’t get to defend ourselves and our positions. We are called to be One Body working together to bring Jesus glory.
But, how can we do that when we’re so busy yelling at each other?