I was at a men’s retreat about four years back, after the main conference we broke off into small discussion groups (which is code for time for Ricky to piss everybody off an bring a new mood to the room). The topic is something we are still struggling with.
Cigarettes and anger seem to run the conversation. Then came me, I gently said, “I’ll pass.” I’ve learned to pass over situation that would pin me against the grain, I have learned sometimes division is not worth a point, hence Jesus telling us to shake off the dust and move on. They continued to probe, and many “come on Ricky’s followed. I gave in.
I leaned up in my chair dramatically as I always do. I said, I’ve killed Christians… I’m still killing them, I can’t stop, I don’t want to live this way. But I feel like it’s right.
The room silenced, everybody slowly glanced to the group leader. He said, Ricky… Please elaborate.
I began to tell my story. I see differences, I see fractions, I see separations. I label her the Baptist, him the Methodist. She’s the millennialist, he’s the Calvinist.
An old rabbi in the first century used to teach that anything other than pure love given to your neighbor was like a spiritual poison. It was slowly killing them. I am killing strangers that I should be loving as brothers.
Every time I don’t love like I am called to. Every time I let a difference get in the way, I am killing my brothers and sisters. Jesus tells of a similar situation, he is caught trying to heal on the Sabbath and he poses the question, “is It better to give the option of life or death.”
Despite our disagreements. Whether or not you even believe what I teach, we should love as brother and sisters, and when we don’t it’s as good as murder.
How many of us feel like Paul before his conversion? We kill Christians based on what we have been told, or doctrine we follow, or even because they have hurt us. Let us be bigger. Let us love in spite of.
“There is nothing anyone can do to ‘earn’ your hatred, if Jesus couldn’t find a reason to hate, neither can you.”
An Emerging Spirituality (out this Summer)