It is incumbent upon born again believers in the Lord Jesus Christ that we disagree with a heart of both loving conviction and humility.
"The servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth" (II Timothy 2:24-25).
"As touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another" (I Thessalonians 4:9).
Occasionally a question of doctrine or practice arises that leads me to research the issue. These days, the Internet offers the best avenue to quickly illuminate or refresh our minds about such matters. However, I frequently find in Cyberspace a bloody battlefield on which nary a drop of the vital fluid has been physically shed. I rather speak of the animosity one often finds between believers on websites and blogs as well-meaning Christians fight for their convictions, and against those of brothers and sisters viewed more as enemies than as family. I do not reference disputes regarding matters of fundamental doctrine that clearly define the "faith which was once delivered to the saints" (Jude 1:3). I rather speak of matters we may consider vitally important, but which do not address the cardinal essentials of genuine faith.
A confident conviction requires no animosity, no arrogance, no prideful bombast, and certainly no attitude of dismissive ridicule that either implies or directly states, "How could you be so ignorant as to believe that?" Such a dismissal too often comes across among believers who disagree (and I would know, having been far too frequently guilty of the offense myself). Here's the answer. We're all ignorant about some things, especially when considering the infinite and eternal truth of the everlasting God. Moreover, we're all ignorant about things in which we believe ourselves to be pretty smart. I do not mean to contend that we cannot have a true and genuine grasp on God's Word, particularly regarding the cardinal doctrines. I am suggesting, however, that many of the issues about which we fight are not matters easily understood and applied. Add the devil to the mix with his 2,000 years of plying darkness and deception, and a disturbing indictment looms before us: "If any man think that he knoweth anything, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know" (I Corinthians 8:2). Yes, we're all ignorant about some things. All of us. Thus, we have little place for ridiculing others about their challenges and lapses of understanding.
Let us stand for our convictions and express them, if we have spent enough time in the Scriptures to have convictions. Our Heavenly Father calls us to do so, and He purposes that we "shine as lights in the world" (Philippians 2:15). Our lamp grows dim, however, if our attitude does not match our content. Humility and conviction are brothers. The former without the latter leads to cowardly compromise. The latter without the former breeds arrogant hubris. Both reveal real ignorance of the Lord Jesus and His Truth. Neither reflect or proceed from His character, nature, and way. Nor should they reflect or proceed from those who seek to exemplify and express His truth.
"That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive, but speaking the truth in love, may grow up into Him in all things, which is the head, even Christ."
Weekly Memory Verse
In the multitude of my thoughts within me Thy comforts delight my soul.