You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in Heaven. Matthew 5:14-16
Frozen. As I watch the body of Christ argue and bicker across social media, through churches, and in social circles, I cringe. And suddenly, I doubt my own beliefs, frozen by fear that I might say or write something that contradicts the true meaning of scripture. What if I lead someone to believe an untruth because I unknowingly have it wrong? I do not consider myself an intelligent Bible scholar who speaks in big words and seems to easily understand the deepest Biblical concepts. I am a mere simple woman who loves Jesus with her whole heart, not understanding it all, but knowing that little by little the Holy Spirit is teaching me through His Word, in His timing.
Yet, when I hear of differing theologies from the camps of people on many sides, seeing and reading the same words but interpreting them differently, I get overwhelmed. Who is right? What is truth? I hear some who claim that anyone who believes differently is leading people astray or even worse, a direct pawn of Satan put in place as a false teacher. You can find lists of these people posted online and some of the names are popular Christian authors and speakers, those whose books we read and who have encouraged us in our walk with Jesus.
It’s enough to make some throw up their hands and want to quit trying and with this kind of conflict, I wonder how the world can look in on us and see the fellowship, joy, and beauty that following Jesus and being part of His family can provide. Why would others want to follow our God when we fight over who He is and the “unessential” theologies of the Bible?
Jesus tells us in Matthew that we are the light of the world and that our light should shine before others so they may see our good works. In I John 1:7, we read that we will have fellowship with one another if we claim to be walking in the light.
The question is, can we have fellowship with each other despite our differences? The answer is unequivocally, YES. The truth is that the only being who understands all is God. The Bible could have been written in a way that makes perfect sense to us, but God in His infinite wisdom didn’t choose to make His Word easy to understand. There are historical backgrounds, cultural nuances, differing time periods and authors, and different reasons for writing each section.
What a blessing it is to have the Word of God and hold it so dearly that we must dig into it to gain wisdom, knowledge, and understanding in our quest to know Him, love Him, and glorify Him!
So in my quest for Biblical truth, I have to remind myself often that the Holy Spirit and the Word of God are my primary teachers, that I can learn from human teachers but must remember that we are all fallible in nature, and that I don’t have to agree with everything someone teaches when it doesn’t line up with what the Holy Spirit is teaching me. Even further, I don’t have to become angry that others see things differently. I am also learning that although I must stay vigilant in not following false teachers, I also need to recognize that even some aspects of my own belief system could be wrong and I am continually learning and growing, just like others.
To be the collective light of the world, we must join our lights together in fellowship, agreeing on the most important essentials of the faith, and being humble enough to recognize that the remaining of our beliefs can and will likely differ. In order to shine a light on what the body of Christ should be, we must put aside those differences and stop tearing each other down over what is our interpretation of truth.
If we can do this, can you imagine what we might be able to do together?