In an age of more venues for communication than ever before, we appear more isolated and divided than previous decades.
People have always had disagreements. Some are generational-the younger and older frequently find music a difficult place for finding common ground. The same can be said of dress. We find comfort in that which surrounds us in formative years.
Yet, traditionally, simple acknowledgement of different tastes sees us through them. We know that the people attached to these opinions carry a greater value.
In the past, we couldn’t run away so easily from those with whom we disagreed. Our circles of family and neighbors often included those different from ourselves. That reality opened up windows of learning and listening from each other. Sometimes our minds changed and sometimes they didn’t.
But it wasn’t a “me against you” mentality because our circle was made up of “us.”
While the digital age has broadened our opportunities to connect with more people, it has also interfered with communication. Now, we can surround ourselves with people only like ourselves. Listening has morphed into making “hit and run comments.” We can choose not to hear narratives different from our own. And in fear, we attack and label.
What are the implications for those who claim to be Christ’s image bearers?
Michael Kimpan, in an article for Relevant Magazine, wrote “The real issue is us. We struggle to “put skin” on the words and message of Christ with anyone who thinks differently than us. Too often, we demand conformity prior to connection. When we approach one another as brothers and sisters—image bearers of the God we claim to serve—and celebrate what we have in common, we better position ourselves to helpful dialogue in the midst of disagreement. We carry divine potential for healing and restoration. We have an opportunity and responsibility to allow our words and actions to surge with the power and energy of a life of love.”
What is an area in which your words can be marked with the “skin” of Jesus?
Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that. Ephesians 5:1-2
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