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I wanted to talk about something near and dear to my heart today, religious intolerance. But between the different Christian denominations and amongst our own churches.
There is an insane amount of division among the Christian community and I wanted to address it today. We often see articles about losing religious freedoms in America and the war on Christianity is real but the division amongst other Christians is a part of the problem.
You see when we’re divided on things like the Godhead, baptizing babies, etc. we lose sight of the primary focus, our Savior.
I can tell you that I have experienced some intense religious intolerance amongst other Christian denominations and in other churches I’ve attended.
As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I can tell you, a lot of people don’t like it.
In fact, they hate it.
There is an insane amount of hate and divide that comes with this church because people don’t understand. The media is a master manipulator and frankly always has been.
I try to focus on the things we have in common with all denominations.
Focus on the good in the world. Focus on what people are doing right.
The thing is, you’re never going to win the discussion. You have your mind made up about the Gospel and frankly, so do they.
While you can offer insight about things you learned, disputing doctrine is never going to help.
We’re seeing it now with the division amongst Methodist churches. Some believe LGBTQ weddings should be performed in the churches and the other half does not. The church announced a split.
We’ve all heard the saying that together we conquer but divided we fall and the more division we create amongst ourselves, the easier it is to let religious persecution become the norm.
So how do we stop it?
We need to be quicker to listen. Humans have a tendency to listen to respond instead of listening to understand. We then only hear what we want to hear and pounce leading to anger.
James 1:19-20 says, “19 Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; 20 for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”
This has been my experience with a lot of other Christians. Most people assume what they know about being LDS but aren’t ready to understand from an actual member. We need more listening and less anger.
This is a big one. If you enjoy your religious freedoms, then it is imperative to defend the right to believe for others, even if they don’t agree with you. I think the Flying Spaghetti Monster religion is hilarious and the founder says he made it up as a joke, but I would defend their right to believe every single day.
The minute we stop defending the rights of others to worship as they see fit, our own freedoms are in danger.
Who will defend your freedoms when there is no one left who is a believer.
Proverbs 31:8 says, “Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute.”
When we stop defending our neighbor, we have no one left to help us.
This is kind of a big deal also because it’s what Jesus said to do. You cannot love your neighbor if you’re cutting ties with them because they don’t hold the same religious values that you hold.
When my hubs joined the Church, we were met with a lot of opposition. People walking out of restaurants when they saw us, they would stop calling or would only call to tell us why we’re wrong.
Our kids miss their friends and the people they spent time with because the grownups can’t love us even if we believe differently.
John 15:12: “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.”
If Jesus can love us no matter what we do, we can show love to fellow Christians.
While no one is perfect, we must strive to be more Christ-like in our dealings with other Christians. Religious intolerance has no place amongst us. It’s not what Jesus commanded us to do.
With an abundance of division in the world, the last we need to do as Christians is add to it.
My prayer is that next time you meet someone with a different belief structure you take the time to love them like Christ does and meet them with compassion and understanding just as you would expect them to do for you.