Jesus Christ prayed to His Heavenly Father for unity.
John 17:20b-23 reveals that unity in the body of Christ was one of His most heartfelt desires! “I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”
If Christians agree on the major things: how we get to heaven, how we become more like Jesus, and how we treat others accordingly…then is there really a place for bickering about the minor things? Is there a proper time for condescending social media posts? If we are supposed to strive to be like Jesus, (Come on, Friends, that is one of the ‘majors’) then talking about or to a fellow Christian in a rude manner should not even be a possibility! If we engage in behavior that brings about division in the body of Christ, then we are conducting ourselves in direct conflict with Jesus’ prayer!
There have been some ‘minor’ concepts that I have seen Christians attack each other for just recently: ‘Which version of the Bible do we read?’ If we get asked that question at the pearly gates, and we say anything other than King James, I’m 100% sure that we’ll be allowed to stay. I believe getting to know Him through His Word is so much more important to Him than which version we use to do it. I also think that the Holy Spirit is really good at orchestrating the way in which the Word is received and taken in. What about the age-old crisis of whether we sing hymns, praise choruses, or a healthy mixture of both during our worship services? I firmly believe that God loves it when we worship Him. Period. He loves to hear us bless His name, and His concern is not whether we do it in a modern, traditional, upbeat, or non-upbeat sort of way. His concern is if we worship Him with sincerity. We do sing for Him, about Him, to Him, and of HIM, not us, right? If we can’t ‘get’ in the worship ‘mood’ because the music isn’t our style…then we are forgetting the true meaning of worship and who it is about.
Other issues on the minor list, such as drinking an occasional glass of wine, getting a tattoo, immersion vs. sprinkling, listening to heavy-metal music, and going to a rated-R movie can all be points of division, and maybe our thoroughly-thought-out reasons that we are for or against these hot-topics are worth fighting for, in our opinion. Then again, maybe arguing with someone about a minor point in Christianity, even while using our well-thought-out rationales, would be in complete opposition to what our Savior desires.
There will be times we are led to express our Biblical views on the major issues…like whether Jesus died on a cross, rose again, and whether our soul’s eternal destination depends on our decision to accept His gift of eternal life. I will go to my grave defending God and His brilliant plan. After all, His plan of salvation is what we are put on this earth to share with others.
But the minor ones? Let’s keep them that way. Let us celebrate our similarities with other Christians and spend time worshipping our awesome God together in unity! And then, because we are Christians that pursue harmony with other Christians, we will be an answer to Jesus’ prayer. Wow. We can be a part of an answer to Jesus’ prayer. Did I say, “wow” yet? What a blessing it is when we help in bringing about what Jesus prayed for.