“But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” (1 Peter 3:15)
A friend of mine is a new mother and recently she decided to go back to work part-time. With her new job, she has the flexibility of working at home while caring for her newborn. She shared with me that she does not know what to call herself – a working mom or a stay at home mom? I responded to her situation by telling her that she does not need to put herself in a box and choose one or the other. Whether she ‘works’ at home or ‘stays’ at home does not define her. She can live in the tension of doing both and simply call herself a ‘mother’. She felt relieved.
As people who live in America, there is pressure to live in extremes rather than in the center of tension. Today, we are more politically polarized than ever. Republicans and Democrats are further apart ideologically and they have strong negative opinions of each other. Fewer Americans share both Rebulican and Democratic positions, there is less compromise and less middle ground. As a result, there is less unity and greater conflict.
We have learned to take the polarized attitude spiritually. As a counselor, I have seen people take ‘boundaries’ to extremes and more people completely cut out anyone who has wounded them rather than live in the tension of forgiving and blessing enemies. We are separated by denominational or theological affinity and tend to spend most of our time with people who think and act like us.
When it comes to issues which do not have a clear answer in the Bible such as remarriage after divorce, we can pick a view and stay there without acknowledging the possibility of other views. This unhealthy tendency leads to pride, disunity and conflict in the church.
I believe we can live polarized lives because we do not like to live in tension and we like to have answers. Does that mean we should not have convictions? Absolutely not. I encourage people to study issues and develop a conviction on issues. However, we must carry an attitude of humility, unity and acceptance of other evangelical convictions.
During year 2015 I will be writing on controversial issues such as divorce and remarriage, online dating, birth control and other interesting topics. I encourage you to enter this season with a hunger to learn while carrying an attitude of humility and unity. May we let the only sure, core central truth of the loving, saving work of Jesus Christ be the platform we stand on as we embark this journey together. To kick off the series in FEB, I will be writing on same-sex attraction to go along with the month’s theme of identity. I am gathering input on other subjects to address throughout the year. What topics interests you?