These days, there is no shortage of examples of people calling out the actions or inactions of others with which they disagree. Further, these divergent opinions go beyond simply sharing different perspectives, which can be a beneficial way of learning something new or an opportunity for reaching compromise with the interests of both being addressed. But unfortunately, the point we have devolved to in our society, and frankly throughout much of the world, is taking it a step further – making derogatory comments about the intelligence, character, and emotional immaturity of the individual with whom we have a differing view. We live in a community of stark polarizations, with little sympathy or empathy for those who don’t believe or agree with us. It’s really gotten nasty, hasn’t it? What’s worse? People behaving this way as a church or as Christians or in the name of God. Is that the “Way”?
There is a great example of Jesus dealing with similar circumstances from which we can model a number of better behaviors in our lives. As with most of the stories of Jesus, there is more to it than meets the eye of a first quick read. It comes from John chapter 8. There, Jesus is confronted by the Jewish hierarchy who present him with someone caught in adultery. The way that Jesus handles them and handles her is in stark contrast to how we deal with people with whom we disagree even on matters for which the death penalty does not apply. When the One who had the power and authority to actually deal with both sides in ways that neither would have wanted instead models grace, forgiveness, and compassion – that is the Way for us.
Watch our video of Tavern Talk #25 for all the details, and some thoughts and ideas on how we can do better and be better. Peace.