I was listening to an interview of a particular pastor today. I won’t share his name because, once I do, there is a fifty-fifty chance you’ll highly discredit what I’m about to say based solely on my reference of him. So he shall, for the duration of this article, remain nameless.
And that’s exactly what I want to talk about, actually. You discrediting me. Or how we might discredit one another based on that one thing – whatever that one thing might be.
Let me explain.
Several years ago I had a particular opinion on a particular subject (which shall also go nameless). I had many conversations with family members and friends about this particular subject and I expressed my feelings against it – quite expressively. I rubbed several people the wrong way simply because this particular thing had become my one thing.
As it turns out, the way I felt about this particular subject changed quite dramatically several years ago – so much so that I’m actually quite ashamed that I was once so adamantly against it.
Going back to the interview with the pastor – which was less of an interview and more of a debate that he was pulled into by another pastor. He was questioned on his support of same-sex marriage and, although I do not agree with his view on the subject, he did say something that spoke volumes to me. “…you have a particular conviction,” he said, “and all of the sudden your orthodoxy or your faithfulness to Jesus is called into question.”
We all have that one thing – a particular conviction on a certain subject – and for this pastor, his one thing is same-sex marriage. For you, it could be alcohol or abortion or dating or gambling or watching movies. It’s that one thing that you are convicted so strongly about, yet when questioned about it from someone who holds a differing viewpoint, instantly your faith in Jesus and your devotion to him gets called into question. All because of our one thing.
To me, the Bible is clear on many issues. Some things are non-negotiable. Some things are black and white. And some things, well, are not non-negotiable and they’re not black and white. They live in their own murky, little gray world that provides no answers to their enormous questions. And it’s in this place where things get messy.
If I can’t support same-sex marriage – because to me it’s non-negotiable – but it’s my friend’s one thing, where does that leave us?
Does his faith in Jesus come into question?
And, since I consider this a non-negotiable, do I get a free pass?
Or is this my one thing?
Does my faith come into question?
The pastor concluded his thought by saying:
“This is why so many people don’t want to be a part of the church.”
Well, as challenging as it might be, maybe he’s right.