Tomorrow I leave on another trip to Israel/Palestine with Telos, an organization that is pro-Israel, pro-Palestine, pro-peace.
The picture for me is completed when I add “Pro-Jesus”.
In case you were wondering, this is not an easy gig.
Loving people we don’t agree with is safe when it’s just a theory. Bob Goff
Some of you may already be angry with me, but one of the values of our church is a commitment to “live in the tension”. This doesn’t just apply to politics, but so many other social issues also.
Sometimes there are problems that can be solved, but often there are tensions must be managed.
Most of us love black and white, right and wrong, winners and losers, who’s in and who’s out.
We love boundary markers.
We want to major on love but not at the expense of truth, and that can be tricky.
Living in the tension is a hard one that can be misunderstood, but what it means is:
- We embrace the fact that there IS absolute truth, but there are also fuzzy areas and we want to commit to a posture of humility. “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us”(Deuteronomy 29:29a).
- We try to listen longer than is comfortable. “Be quick to listen, slow to speak…” (James 1:19)
- We may feel passionately about something, but we always need to acknowledged we may be wrong. My favorite professor in seminary used to say, “God’s Word is infallible, but my interpretation is not.”
- We pray for wisdom. “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” James 1:5 NIV
- No matter what we are ALWAYS called to respond with love and grace.
Recently, a friend of mine, talking about this publicly, said “God is more concerned with us being loving, than being right.” I understood what she meant, but conservative friends pushed back and said, “So you want to love people to hell?”
Yikes!! Communication is hard isn’t it??
To some, this statement seemed to devalue the goal of seeking truth. We talked about this, and agreed that a better way to say it might be, “God is more concerned with us being lovers than winners.”
We want love to dominate, not our egos.
When you’re in conversation with someone we disagree with we might consider the following questions:
- If you feel anxious or defensive, why do you think that is?
- What is God’s job and what is your job? Sometimes we need to remain silent when we want to speak in anger. Sometimes we need to speak when we’d rather remain silent in fear.
- Paul Tripp suggests we ask ourselves, “What of the person and work of Jesus does this person need to see in this particular moment in his or her life?”
- Is there an element of pride or self-righteousness you need to confess?
This is a lot easier to write about than to live out! What’s been your experience with “living in the tension”?