As a Christian, one of the most discouraging things that damages my faith is mockery and judgement from other Christians. I’m not saying people who aren’t Christian are any better, but they don’t “get” our faith. It’s much easier to forgive or dismiss scorn and condescension from someone who has no idea why you believe what you believe.
As brothers and sisters, and (ideally) imitators of Christ, we have a special power to build each other up, or tear each other down. It’s an intimate relationship, and thoughtless words sting worse when they come from loved ones. It’s a shame that so few Christians seem to understand that. Do we value our own persnickety preferences so highly that we have to worship in different places and at different times for fear of either being disgusted or judged by one another? I’m not talking about major theological differences; I’m talking about superficial differences and theoretical quibbles. And even if a disagreement is major … is shaming the person you disagree with ever appropriate? Is cracking jokes about how stupid their ideas are in any way Christ-like?
Are we too blinded by our own wants, needs, and comfort zones to see the big picture – the Bride of Christ – as one family? Are we so afraid of learning from one another and considering each other’s ideas that we cling desperately to our own limited comprehension of God’s Word? Are we belligerently holding our ground because we’re right, or because we’re secretly afraid someone might say something that redefines how we understand the Bible – or worse – make us doubt it’s very veracity?
If the latter is the case, then we can let go of our fear immediately. The Bible is the inspired Word of God and no question or idea – however hair-brained – is ever going to change that. As C.S Lewis said, “A man can no more diminish God’s glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word ‘darkness’ on the walls of his cell.” Just so, a Christian cannot damage the validity of God’s Word just by thinking up a fallacious idea or misinterpreting truth. Truth is still truth, however it is misunderstood.
No one can cut you down quite as quickly as someone you trust and respect. If Christ can forgive us and love us, why can’t we? If Thomas had the audacity to feel Christ’s wounds before he could believe his own eyes, then why can’t we – who believe 100% by faith – ask a few tough questions without being ridiculed or laughed at by our fellow believers?