A few years ago I was sitting in a classroom waiting for my college course to start for the day. To pass the time I read some of a book I had started earlier that week. The book itself is not very important. It was a religious book. An acquaintance of mine in the classroom looked over to see what I was reading. Upon seeing he author he rolled his eyes and began to complain about how liberal of a book that must be from that author. He went on to brag how he had never read the book, but knew how bad it must be form what he had heard by others. He wondered aloud how anyone could possibly see benefit in reading that book.
“Perhaps someone wants to read this book to understand the liberal side better so that can have an educated discussion with them rather than mock and roll their eyes at the and speak evil of books they have never read or know nothing about. Perhaps they see benefit in realizing that you do not need to agree with everything a particular author states. Perhaps they understand that if you do believe everything a fallible man says then you have some major flaws in your worldview.” The acquaintance kept silent with a red face for the remainder of the class.
We should stand firmly on what we believe. Belief without passion cannot get you anywhere. There must be an essence of a zealous spirit in your belief. However, this attitude can be taken too far. You know you have gone to an extreme when you refuse to listen to anything the “other side” has to say. It is this attitude that has splintered Christ’s church into various groups. We are a pretty divided family.
We should confront what is against Scripture. No doubt about it, but we must realize that sometimes our interpretation of Scripture is wrong. We need to be capable of keeping an open mind without falling into error in our beliefs. It requires a sharp mind. There are many intellectual Christians who burn passionate views at the stake without taking a glimpse at them all in the name of purity for Christian belief.
Don’t become prideful in your doctrinal beliefs. Don’t become so arrogant that people don’t want to listen to your views. I knew too many people like that. They were the people that may be speaking truth, but did it with such arrogance, pride, and shallowness that I didn’t want to be anything remotely like them. Sometimes we simply get in the way of speaking truth.
Sometimes we are simply going to disagree on minor issues. I’m pretty likely to get along with you so long as you believe in the Scriptural truth of salvation. So long as you get that then we can get along pretty well. A good deal of the other stuff isn’t going to keep me from getting along with you and doing ministry with you. Christian society has become a denominational society. We spread ourselves out thin over issues that often aren’t really that big of a deal.
For many of my readers this is a topic that at your current stage of life may not be easily relatable. Teenagers tend not to struggle with this so much. However, do not forget this simple warning. Grow in God’s word. Strive to understand doctrine closely. Poor over it and be passionate about what you believe. Above all else remain humble. Remember that we are still flawed. Our interpretations of God’s word can have mistakes sometimes. Never be so set in your views that you refuse to keep learning. If you think you understand everything then you understand less than most. Never let miniscule differences divide you from God’s family. I am a firm believer in majoring in the majors and minoring in the minors. The small things can be given attention as well, but balance is key.
Grow and be humble. Grow in favor with both God and men.