We will never agree completely with everything other people say or think. And the thing is, we don’t need to. God did not design us to be exactly like everyone else. If we had no extroverts to balance out the introverts, where would we be? (I’d be totally fine reading alone in a cave, but whatever.😉) If everyone chose the same color, make, and model of car, how would you ever find your car in the parking lot? We have different preferences to make life more interesting. I may completely disagree with you, but that doesn’t mean I can’t still be your friend. We do tend to gravitate toward people who think the same way we do, but then how are we challenged to grow and expand our worldview? We must learn to communicate without taking things personally or getting angry. We must not dig our heels in or violently oppose someone else’s opinion. If you said you loved green beans, I would not help our relationship by going into great detail about how much I hate them. Who cares? I can say I don’t like them, but saying how much I don’t like them is not important and rude to you. Insulting another person’s favorite things is unnecessary and can feel like you are insulting them personally.
The same thing is true with our Christian walk. We are pointed in the same direction, and we can only get into heaven through accepting the free gift of grace that Christ offers us, but all of us get to that acceptance in a different manner. While I have been a Christian since I was very young, not many people have that experience. And some people’s lives are incredibly difficult, and the experiences in their lives can be so negative that they have to fight hard to overcome all the obstacles to even get to the first steps that point them to Christ. Some people’s church experiences are horrible and going back to church is not something they want to do. Not because of God, but because of the people in the church. It can make accepting God’s love difficult. Thinking about a relationship with a God Who has been misrepresented by judging, grumpy, scolding people is not something they are interested in. How can we, the Church, be more loving and welcoming? Most people do not live their lives exactly the way we live ours. Remember, we’re all different. So how do we accept them where they are? First, we have to remember we are not living our lives perfectly. And our definition of “perfect” may not be correct or may not be perfect for someone else. We are all sinners in need of God’s grace. We have to remember we are to be pointing people to Jesus. We are not the blueprint people need to follow. How we live our lives is not the exact same way everyone else should. We all only need to follow Jesus. Jesus hung out with the lost and rejected. Let’s do that! Let us remember that each path may be messy and tough, and we’re here to give love and a helping hand.
We can waste so many years of our lives trying to get people to see what they are doing wrong, when that is not what we are called to do. We are to bring people to Christ through our love and patience, and He will work on them from there. When we point people to Jesus and His Word, they will see how they need to be living. While God may use us to guide and lead once they are committed to Him, He did not call us to judge them. In fact, Jesus specifically told us not to do that. (Matthew 7:1-2) We’ve gotten things backwards. We have expected people to behave like seasoned Christians when they have not even learned how to walk yet. Like a child learning to walk, they will fall, and so will we, and we must gently help each other back up again. We can get there together. One step at a time.