John and Eric meet together regularly to pray for each other, their friends, and their school. John and Eric go to two very different churches. John attends a very large, modern church with a huge youth group, lots of people under fifty, a worship band comprised of professionals, and a young, hip pastor. Eric’s church is much smaller, has a youth group of ten, a mix of all ages, and an older pastor. The worship team is all volunteers.
“How can you go to church there?” John asked Eric. “It just seems so dead!”
“I don’t see how you go to a church that’s so packaged. I feel like your church has some kind of corporate sponsor!”
[LINK] Is it possible for Christians to disagree? What do you do when you and another follower of Christ don’t see eye to eye?
During Jesus’ time, religious leaders were fanatically making rules for every aspect of life and figuring out which laws were the most important. When a man asked Jesus which law He thought was the most important, Jesus didn’t answer the question the way the man had hoped. Instead, He told him that all the laws can be summed up in two commands:
“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this . . . Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” The second is this: “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:29-31).
[THINK] Certain beliefs we hold are central and can’t be changed. Some of these central beliefs include believing that Jesus is the Son of God, that He died on the cross for our sins, and that He was resurrected from the dead. Christians should be in complete unity and agreement about these core beliefs.
In secondary issues—things like worship style and differences in churches—diversity is okay and can even make things more interesting. In all things, however, Christians should honor the two commands Jesus mentioned—to show respect and love both for God and one another.
[LIVE] Paul wrote to the Christians in Rome: Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification (Romans 14:19). When you and your friends disagree on an issue, how you handle it can either build them up or cut them down.
Writing off your friends’ ideas or insisting, “It’s my way or the highway” are quick ways to end friendships. Instead, ask your friends how they came to their belief on an issue. Don’t be afraid to discuss your differences, but be careful to be respectful of each other’s opinions during the conversation.
If you have different views on an issue than your friend, search the Bible together for more insight. This process will challenge each of your ways of thinking and may even expand your understanding of what it means to live for Christ. If you both still disagree on the subject, then agree to disagree and respect each other’s opinion.
[NXT LVL] Paul wrote about dealing with differences between Christians in Romans 14.
Reprinted with permission from YouthWalk magazine, © 2005 Walk Thru the Bible, Inc. To learn more about YouthWalk, visit www.youthwalk.org