Most people tend to have strong opinions and beliefs, especially when it comes to religion. We either strongly believe in God, or in no God. If we do believe in God, we believe in our own specific God – how we’ve been taught to see him, what our God is called, how we worship that God, etc. We believe in specifics regarding worship and sin and how God responds to those things. We believe either God answers all prayers, or picks and chooses which to answer. We believe if we don’t repent, we’re not saved – or we believe we’re saved no matter what. We believe we must by baptized to be saved, or we believe baptism is just a symbolic action. Holy Communion is either required for forgiveness, or is simply symbolic. The bread and wine either turns into the real body and blood of Christ, or it is still just bread and wine. The colors of the church must be correct. The worship service must be liturgical. Any believer who gets drunk or has sex outside of marriage isn’t a true believer and better repent or they’ll be damned.
The list goes on and on of our differing beliefs. And these differing beliefs have been the cause of much strife between different religions, between believers and non-believers, between differing denominations of Christianity, and even between different members of the same church.
Today’s Lenten sacrifice:
Be accepting of people with differing beliefs.
Being accepting of people who don’t have the same beliefs as you does not mean you’re taking on those beliefs yourself. It means you’re setting aside those differences and showing love to others. There is no need to tell the person they’re wrong for what they believe. It serves no purpose other than to create divisions.
Granted, a good religious discussion, explaining why you believe what you do and listening to another person explain their beliefs, isn’t a bad thing. This can actually be healthy – provided the people involved are willing to listen and not say “well you’re wrong!” It can help us all gain a greater understanding of one another, and an acceptance of our differences. It can help nurture a loving community and remove the divisions Satan likes to help create.
May the One True God teach us all to be more understanding of each other’s beliefs, leading us to see that most of us do indeed believe in the same God – a belief which unites us all.