By Jonathan Ho
I hate being wrong. I hate being corrected. And I really hate when people are wrong and can’t see that I’m right.
In this day and age we find it easier and easier to find groups which match our interests and our beliefs. Our popularity on Facebook relies on numbers of likes, and we often share images which show only the happiest and best times. Why share that unattractive photo when you can share the photo with perfect lighting, catching that one angle which makes you look great?
Social media has great value and can provide powerful ways of connecting us, but our technologies today also amplify some unpleasant realities. In a world with changing social norms, where texting and online conveniences replace phone calls and face-to-face interactions, and where status rests in numbers of likes and followers, the nature of relationship changes.
It doesn’t take a political scientist to see that the United States stands in a very polarized atmosphere. President Trump has introduced new ways of governing and with his approaches have come arguments in news outlets (see CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, etc.) and also arguments within the body of Christ.
Jesus once said his disciples would be known by their love for one another1, but today, it seems we have lost sight of how to love one another. Many people outside church circles have become disgusted by Christians who seem to have plenty of judgment but little compassion, and within the church we see Christians breaking away from one another due to disagreements not on who Jesus is, but on how to treat the people around us.
As I see this growing unrest, I long to see the body of Christ unified in Jesus, even when we disagree.
Paul writes that the Church is the body of Christ, where when one part suffers, the other parts suffer with it.2 When one part is troubled, are we not to be troubled with it? And yet, we, myself included, often would rather urge having a clean break, a quick amputation, rather than seek reconciliation and healing. It’s much easier to unfollow someone on Twitter than to follow up and seek to listen.
The body of Christ is made up of brothers and sisters in Christ, and yet, we see people angrily burning bridges and urging separation from one another. Is this right? To paraphrase my father, does family urge other family to leave without sorrow? This doesn’t seem to fit the image of the father we see in the story of the two sons (commonly known as the Prodigal Son).3
In all this, I ask God to help us put Jesus first in all our relationships and in how we see the world. These articles all seek to show how important it is for us to take the time to engage and encourage rather than disengage from one another. It is not easy, but is it better for a body to retain a broken arm and rest it for healing, or for it to be amputated? Is the body truly better without an arm? Is it better for a family to chase out a son or daughter, or is it better for the family to pursue the son or daughter?
In both cases, healing takes time. A broken arm requires a cast and rest over weeks. Sometimes it needs to be broken again for proper healing. An estranged family member is not easily returned. There is hurt, and trust is so hard to regain.
But if we look to our King, if we look to Jesus, we see the One who came, took our place, and died for us. And through his death we have found life more abundant than anything we could ever imagine.
This path of Jesus is narrow, but God promises it leads to life. The broad and easy path leads to death but small is the gate and narrow is the path that leads to life, and few find it.4 May we join Jesus in the narrow path and learn from him.
P.S. As always, we’d love to hear from you. How are you wrestling to love someone you can’t stand? How have you tried to connect with those who you disagree with? We’d love to hear your story. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with any stories, feedback, thoughts, and questions you might have.
1 John 13:35
2 1 Corinthians 12:25-26
3 Luke 15:11-32
4 See Matthew 7:14