taking the words of Jesus seriously

It’s convenient, tempting, and easy for Christians to obsess over the smallest details of our—and others—faith while completely missing the reality of God’s love. Too often, we become distracted by our differences instead of focusing on what really matters.

Minor disagreements quickly snowball into major accusations, which devolve into ugly controversies, and before we know it Christians are being torn apart and divided because of dissension, infighting, bitterness, and sheer hatred.

This combative behavior is masked under the pretense of “accountability” and “discipleship” and “love” and “fighting sin” and “outing false teachers” but is often just a form of sinfully attacking someone with different beliefs.

It’s within this chaotic environment that Christians are expected to live, and whether we’re feeling spiritually disappointed, burned out, hurt, betrayed, cynical, or are actually doing OK, it’s always good to take a moment to meditate and reflect on the greatness of Jesus, to simply ponder the beauty and brilliance of God.

Related: Infighting and the Way of Love

Within Christianity, no particular denomination has the market cornered related to God’s divine grace, forgiveness, or favor.

Baptists don’t love God more than Lutherans.

Methodists don’t minister more effectively than Presbyterians.

Evangelical Free churches aren’t any more blessed than Assembly of God congregations.

A liturgical church doesn’t worship God any better—or worse—than a contemporary church.

A megachurch praises the same God as a minichurch—no matter the language, location, culture, or style.

Children experience the same loving God as the elderly, and His truths are equally  revealed despite age, race, or gender.

God forgives both the Arminian and the Calvinist equally.

God’s grace is generously lavished on both Egalitarians and Complementarians.

God impartially transmits His glory whether you’re Premillennial or Postmillennial.

God’s blessings are imparted to both the rich and the poor, the generous and the stingy, the deserving and the undeserving.

God hears the prayers of the sinners just as clearly as those of the saints.

God infinitely values you regardless of if—or when—you were baptized.

God’s love for you isn’t gauged according to how you practice communion.

God’s sovereignty over your life isn’t influenced according to your interpretation of the book of Revelation.

God’s communication isn’t restricted based on which translation of the Bible you read.

God’s protection isn’t dependent upon your church attendance.

God’s blessings aren’t adjusted according to your tithing record.

God’s justice isn’t susceptible to our feelings of hatred, vengeance, or emotions, and cannot be tainted by the bribery, favoritism, or politics of others.

Despite this, we often vainly attempt to replace God. We cast judgment, withhold forgiveness, limit grace, spew hatred, enforce our opinions, and punish those who disagree with us—mistakenly assuming we’re being righteous and holy, when in reality we’re sinfully idolizing ourselves.

Also by Stephen: 6 Things I Hate About Christianity

Wholeheartedly trusting in God doesn’t mean that absolute truth doesn’t exist or that our theology, practices, and doctrines don’t matter—they very much do! The danger is when these things trump God and prevent us from loving others as Jesus loved.

It’s easy to quantify the faith—or lack thereof—of others. We make rules and regulations and laws and guidelines and expectations about who sees God the most accurately and who loves Him the best—and worst—according to our own impossible standards. In the end, we’re often misguided by our pride, ignorance, and hidden agendas.

As Christians, it’s wise to trust the intentions of those who are different from us and faithfully put our hope in God’s love—not our hate. If we truly believe our identity is found in Jesus, we need to emulate His humble selflessness and stop trying to disprove and belittle the faith of others. God help us.

About The Author


Stephen Mattson is the author of "The Great Reckoning: Surviving a Christianity That Looks Nothing Like Christ." Follow him on Twitter (@StephenMattson_)

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