“I can’t believe you believe that.”

Remembering the human on the other side

The circles in my life are big enough that I’ve accumulated people that hold a variety of viewpoints in my social media feed. All of them I know enough to say that I believe their heart is in the right place.

As more and more people feel the urgency to use their social media as their platform, I have sometimes found myself surprised at beliefs that pop up from people I know who are Christians — and I would never question their salvation, not that I should be judging it to begin with. I found myself pausing and thinking,

“I can’t believe you believe that.”

I begin to write my passionate reply, gather statistics and research and make a case, tapping furiously on my phone, because they are wrong.

One day, I had this image pop into my head as I was tapping away — that as I sat on my side of the computer thinking how wrong they were, that they too were looking at their computer and shaking their head at how wrong I was, sharing the same thought.

For some reason that was a very sobering image for me. One, because I can’t stand to think that other people think I’m wrong. And two, that as people who profess the same belief system, that we would come to very different conclusions was confusing.

There is so much literature about the futility of trying to change someone’s mind that I didn’t know what I was supposed to do with this image, but I could tell that the furious tapping wasn’t what I was supposed to be doing and yet I also sensed that I hadn’t parsed out what the end goal of this image for me was.

Until today, when I was reading Ephesians 6 in another context:

We aren’t fighting against human enemies but against rulers, authorities, forces of cosmic darkness, and spiritual powers of evil in the heavens.

I had this sudden realization that my frustration and anger with these individual people who believe differently from myself was being wielded by the enemy as a tool of distraction from what my real weapons were — prayer, worship, and love for one another, especially the ones who I think should think the same way I do.

Because the passage continues:

“Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.”

While this is lack of unity is particularly front and center during the 2020 Election season, I’m mindful that this polarization isn’t going away on November 4th and that there will continue to be disagreements within God’s people (which is why we have so many Pauline letters!). Even within our disunity, it’s clear we are to be praying for one another and seeking to find unity.

Would you join me in praying for unity among believers and praying against the rulers, authorities, forces of evil and spiritual powers?

Digital Designer

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