I treasure God’s Word and have spent much of my life reading and studying it. Thus I have strong opinions on some theological issues.
At one point I had just finished studying an important section of scripture and came away with the conviction, more powerful than ever, that those who disagreed with me on the interpretation of that scripture were wrong, and dangerously wrong. I prayed and asked God what He wanted me to do about their “serious error”. He told me, “Do what I trained you to do: write a clear and practical hymn based on that passage.” I did, and when finished, I felt good about the hymn and the accuracy of its message.
But as I looked at the completed hymn, I realized that it was just as acceptable and meaningful to my “theological opponents” as it was to me.
Perhaps that was because hymns are best when they are heartfelt and life-centered. And while believers often disagree about theology on a theoretical level, they rarely disagree about the way we all should live and long to live. For the most part, we are one in that living faith.
I’ve often experienced a strange silence from God about theological positions I consider erroneous. I’ve sensed that somehow, He was more tolerant than I. I kept expecting Him to send me out against the misguided with my sword drawn. He never has.
God gradually helped me realize that He hadn’t called me to straighten out all that is false in the world and in His Church. He has called me to lift up Jesus Christ so that all may find the truth in Him.
Let’s face it. Ignorance is something we all have in common. We are small, short-lived, often self-centered creatures. We are tiny specks in a sea of time, space, and spiritual reality. Our ignorance, at least in this life, is inherent and inescapable. If God couldn’t put up with our ignorance, He would have nothing to do with us.
I pray that God keeps me conscious of my own ignorance and patient with everyone else’s. At the same time, I want my life to boldly, unfailingly proclaim the beautiful, living truth that is in Jesus Christ alone.