October 5, 2016
Two well-known Christian leaders had a major disagreement over the interpretation of a Bible passage. It was not one of those non-negotiables like the deity of Jesus or the “one way” of Salvation, but it was important to them that people agree with their position. Eventually, their argument grew to the point that they parted ways, no longer friends, and did not speak to one another for a long time. I think they restored the friendship, but I doubt that they resolved their differences.
Many friendships have been broken and churches split over issues that apparently seemed important enough to the individuals to make that be their decision. Often, these are situations where “agree to disagree” would be an appropriate solution. There is room for that in many of our differences of opinion.
I wonder if these situations have any significance when we get to Heaven. If two followers of Jesus who could not resolve their issues while on Planet Earth come together in Heaven, do their differences have any significance then? Does Heaven allow for people to remember their issues while on this planet and cause laughter as they, in perfection, think about them? I have no answer for that question, but it does remind me to consider, “Is it that important?”
The question applies to more than theological challenges. When husband and wife are discussing an issue and cannot agree on a solution, it would help if each person would stop talking and ponder, “Is it that important?” Should I focus on being right, or can we agree to disagree and see if time and experience might work this out?
Children have a lot to teach adults about this subject. When they disagree over who plays with a toy, we can usually get them to agree to a plan that makes both of them happy. They agree to disagree on the immediate desire but are willing to give in to each other for a period of time. The immediate fulfillment gets overruled by the longer term benefit. They decide that their issue is not important enough to waste time fighting over when they could be playing.
My “short fuse” personality of younger years has gotten longer as I continue to learn to run human differences through the grid of, “Is it that important?”
Pastor Bill Ehmann