One of my favorite shows of all time was LOST. The series finale was a few years ago and I was disappointed when it ended. A few months ago LOST appeared on Netflix so my wife and I decided to watch it all the way through again. I’ve picked up a few themes that I didn’t catch the first time around. The biggest one is the tension between the characters who crashed on the island by airplane and those who were already living on the island. There is great conflict between these two groups because they each view the other group as “The Others.” The survivors of the airplane flight view the island’s inhabitants as “hostile” and “barbaric.” However, the island inhabitants view the survivors as “intruders” and equally “hostile.”
As I have been watching this plot unfold again, I realized what a perfect representation it is of how Christians treat each other. There is great conflict between denominations, church organizations, and even movements of God. We have become better at segmenting believers into “camps” based on beliefs about certain doctrines instead of unifying ourselves under the cross. We have become so afraid of “Christians” who believe differently than us that we start treating every group like “The Others” who are here to disrupt what “God is really doing.” We walk in so much fear and anger toward one another that we lose sight of where we can be unified.
This is a much bigger issue than most of us realize. Did you know that the spreading of the Gospel hinges on our unity and love for each other? In John 13:35closeJohn 13:35 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (ESV) closeJohn 13:35closeJohn 13:35 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (ESV) 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (ESV) Jesus tells us that “the world will know that we are his disciples if we have love for one another.” This doesn’t mean that we will always agree or even attend the same church. This does mean that we have to decide what we stand for and what we don’t. This means that some arguments among “brothers and sisters” need to stay between us and is not for public consumption on Facebook. This means that when you disagree with another believer in Christ you don’t rip them apart on social media or in the public square, you discuss it in private so that each of you can grow in truth.
So as we move forward as a church and Christians in Tallahassee let us get better at discerning what is a non-negotiable in our faith and what we can discuss as a family. As James McDonald says, “On the majors conviction, on the minors tolerance, and in all things love.”