Throughout my life I can say that I have learned at least one life lesson from each minister or youth pastor that I have had. One youth pastor used to tell me that there had to be balance in life.
At the time I did not realize how valuable that lesson was, but as I look at the Church, I think about what Pastor Juan used to say and wonder why his words haven't spread very far.
Sadly, the church lacks balance. Politically, we tend to be either Republican, Democrat or completely inactive. Some feel that Christians should embrace 'liberation theology' and use the church to stand for the oppressed and neglected. Theologically, we are either Catholic or Protestant. Protestants are either Calvinists or Arminians; pentecostal or conservative. We either study the Bible in depth or we accept what our preachers say without question. Some say that the King James is the only version. Christians either believe in a literal six day creation or believe in the evolutionary process. Some Christians either want to sing all hymns in church or all praise choruses.
And God help the brother or sister who disagrees.
There are literally a multitude of issues about which Christians do not agree. But where is the balance? Why is it so difficult to open our minds to another point of view?
Balance is essentially a form of love. When we truly love our neighbors we can coexist and still maintain our identities without feeling threatened. Who should we love? God, and our neighbor as we love ourselves. The balance is wrapped up in the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
So, for example, if your political views differ from mine, I can respect you even though we may never agree. We may argue furiously, but in the end we are still friends. Why? Because we love and respect each other.
Scripture says to love our enemies. We may find it ridiculous to consider fellow Christians our enemies, but how do we usually feel when someone disagrees with us? Threatened. And when I am threatened I am defensive, therefore, you become my enemy and I will defend myself. Do you see my point?
We in the church need to stop viewing others as the enemy and move toward that love about which Jesus spoke. In this way we will have balance, a much more effective witness and a better relationship with God.