Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Developing a Culture of Honor


I was shocked when I learned I’d spend eternity in heaven with Catholics, or Anglicans, or any other denomination that was different than my own. Seriously, I was surprised. When I was younger and I met someone who professed to be a Christian, I would politely probe a little deeper to find out what kind of Christian they were and if they admitted they went to the United Church or something equally liberal, which equated to godlessness - or worse, Catholic - I immediately made a judgement. “Oh, they aren’t really a Christian,” I thought.

Oh, come on now, I’m not the only one. I didn’t learn to think like this in a vacuum.

When the Alpha craze swept across churches around the world in the mid 1990’s; even Catholic churches were participating – that gave me cause to pause. During the same time, I was part of an informal prayer group of women. Eight or nine women gathered around the dinner table of my dear, late friend (you can read about her here), and pray. Among us 5 or 6 churches were represented; one gal was Catholic. I watched her more closely than the others but I couldn’t find fault. She loved Jesus, worshipped him as Lord and desired to have more of the things of God - like me.

I don’t want to be judgemental towards believers any longer, so I’ve asked the Holy Spirit to keep me on a short leash, convicting me when I put myself in place of God over another. We are one in Christ, and serve as one body to a world that desperately needs salvation. Not one person would claim that a baby is mature; likewise, there is no one that is born again as a mature believer. I know this most of all, and for as much grace as others have shown me, how much more I should show grace and honour to others.

God is intensely personal with each one of us and all of us are working out our salvation with fear and trembling. It looks different for many people and the journey we take is unique to us, how can we judge another? If we developed a culture of honour, understanding each person has value and bears the image of the living God – let me repeat that, we all bear the image of the living God –would church look and feel different?  

Is there a way to honour each other’s differences without judgement?

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