Or Else – Devotion 296

One of the things that is most alarming is how we treat one another.  It isn’t as if this is anything new.  I have been reading about some of the Saints of the Church recently.  In too many cases, the saints ended up being martyred.  Why were they killed?  They were killed because they refused to deny their faith.  They held firm to their faith in God and this made someone in charge angry.  So they were tortured or killed.  This all happened because people with power thought they were so right that everyone who didn’t agree was wrong.  The wrong was so wrong that death was the answer.  Believe like me…or else – this was a clear statement.

While this does still occur in other countries, in the United States, this should not be the case.  It does, however, show up in other ways.  We have decided that everyone must believe like us or they are wrong – so wrong we can’t fellowship with them.  If someone doesn’t act, vote, believe, speak and think like I do – they are out.  Yet, this isn’t at all the teaching of the Bible.  

I can’t help but think how self-absorbed  and yet insecure the emperors and rulers must have been.  They had to have people to tell them they were great and their ideas were perfect – probably because they didn’t even believe it themselves.  They couldn’t even take it when someone disagreed with them – speaks of extreme insecurity to me.  But too often, we can fall into similar traps.  If someone doesn’t agree or believe like me, am I so insecure about what I believe that I cannot even hear them or want to be around them?  Do they need to believe like me…or else?  I don’t think so.

It seems to me we are taught a different way.  We are taught the way of God’s love.  We are taught the way of compassion and kindness.  This way doesn’t have room to bully someone else into our beliefs.  It doesn’t give space for belittling someone else for ideas and opinions different than our own.  This way is one of giving.  This way is one of praying for one another.  This way is one of patience.  This is the way of Jesus.  

Consider how you treat those who do not believe like you.  How might we show the love of Christ in ways that reach out rather than set ultimatums?

Focus Scripture:

Colossians 3:12

As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.

Photos included in Devotions are captured by David Cain – The Cain Gallery.  Photos are available for sale by contacting The Cain Gallery

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