Navigating a New, Diverse World

We read and hear a lot about the polarization of America, as one extreme battles the other extreme. Navigating in a diverse world becomes challenging.

The middle seems to be lost entirely, as only the most outrageous statements get the headlines. It creates gridlock, from small town school boards to the United States Congress.

Everything is political and common sense sometimes is not only not considered, but savagely condemned. This is a recipe for a serious decline in a society, as traditional community values are questioned and even labeled as immoral.

Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question:

36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’

38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:34-40)

We do not have to agree, but we do have to accept the other person’s right to an opinion. Any mention of LGBTQ will get some folks fired up and vocal. The Christian community sometimes likes to claim the moral high ground on this issue. But in all too many cases, it loses that high ground by ignoring the humanity of the people they rail against, which leads directly to condemnation. Christians sometimes use the Lord Jesus Christ as a weapon, not an olive branch.

Build relationships

A number of years ago a man in my Bible study group asked me for direction on a work matter. He told me that his boss was gay and wanted to know what he should do about it. I told him to go to work and do the very best job he knew how and not focus on his boss.

“But he’s gay!!,” he replied. I told him that by doing a good job he might gain trust and respect from his boss. Additionally, if he could establish a relationship, then he might be able to share his faith journey with the man and perhaps even present the Gospel and introduce him to the Master.

I told him again to leave the sexual preference matter out of the conversation. But he was distressed because it was his job to lead this man to Christ and turn him straight.

“No,” I replied. “It is the job of the Holy Spirit to work on this man’s heart and mind. Your job is to love your neighbor as yourself and help him see Christ.”

This fell on deaf ears and he was fired for bringing up his displeasure over the man being gay. He made it personal and quite frankly, I don’t blame his boss for firing him.

“‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord. (Leviticus 19:18)

Navigating, we are called to love each other

We can get carried away by our own importance and lose sight of the fact that we are called to follow the Lord Jesus, not to do His job for him. We are not responsible for the results. My friend missed the point completely. Regardless, he had to show his boss the error of his ways, all the while forgetting entirely that Jesus went to the cross for his boss.

Love your neighbor is repeated throughout Scripture.

The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Romans 13:9)

If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right. (James 2:8)

Thankfully, we are not responsible for results

Knowing that we are not responsible for results and that we are called to love our neighbor as ourselves, we are set free to fulfill our calling to share the love of Christ. We can do this without judgment and without the burden of having to correct the other person.

We simply share. The Holy Spirit will soften hearts, lead people to Jesus and carry the bulk of the load, We are merely along for the ride.

By loving our neighbor as our self, we can learn the difference between acceptance and approval. Hence I may not share an opinion or a lifestyle, but I can love my neighbor as myself. I can listen. I can try to understand. Leave the rest to God.