“We believe that we are all saved the same way, by the undeserved grace of the Lord Jesus.”Acts 15:11
Differences. They divide relationships. They keep people apart when individuals land on either side of the difference. We see in the news the differences between groups regarding politics, racial issues. As more differences arise the further apart people become from one another.
But differences do not need to divide.
This week we are looking at Acts 15. The believers gathered in Jerusalem to discuss how to welcome the Gentile believers. Some thought the Gentiles needed to be circumcised in accordance with the Law of Moses. Others do not see the necessary need for this extra burden on them. This was a great difference.
They discussed for a long time. Then James spoke about how the Old Testament prophets foretold the Gentiles coming to faith. There was not word about them being circumcised. They agreed this truth and wrote to the Gentile believers to abstain from immoral life and grow as followers of Jesus Christ.
The Jerusalem meeting could have resulted in a division amongst the Apostles. Rather than argue to win a point they chose to listen to one another, study Scripture together and prayed for God’s wisdom. They did not seek to be divided by their differences. Instead they sought to be in agreement. They listened to learn from one another.
We learn from them the importance of learning from differences. Many times we find ourselves in arguments whether in person or via social media working to prove that we are “right” and the other side is “wrong”. The health of the relationship does not matter as long we ‘win’.
As followers of Jesus we resolve to listen to learn from one another. Everyone receives the undeserved grace of Jesus Christ. No one is better than another because of how one lands on an issue. We freely share God’s love with all from our own experiences with God. We see differences as a way to connect with each other.
During these times may we reflect God’s undeserved grace to all people. As we are forgiven so are they. As God loves us unconditionally so are they. As Jesus rose from the grave to save us from sin He did so for those we disagree with on some issues.
The times we find yourself disagreeing with someone on an issue look to the Apostles in Acts 15. See how they listened to learn from one another. Find common ground with one another. There are probably more things you agree on than disagree. Seek to find a solution as the Apostles did about the Gentiles.
May we be examples in the world of how God’s love unites us together. May each of us begin to see that differences do not divide us but rather brings us together.
This Week’s Challenge
Have a conversation with a person who you disagree with on an issue. Seek to understand one another finding common ground together.