As I have mentioned before, I did not set out to discuss the lack of love between Christians of various movements and belief systems, but it seems to be that has what been percolating in my inner man. One side cries heresy, and the other cries religiosity. It is almost as if we are driving down a highway, anyone going faster than us is a maniac, and anyone slower than us needs to learn how to drive.
One of the things I have noticed over the years is for most of history, most believers could not read nor write. So when it comes to brass tacks as to what to believe, they trusted in Jesus and did not hold to much other structure except for the culture they grew up in. So I would like to look at two passages that involved the Samaritans.
A greatly oversimplified explanation of the Samaritans from Wikipedia reads: (emphasis mine)
- Samaritans believe that their worship, which is based on the Samaritan Pentateuch, is the true religion of the ancient Israelites from before the Babylonian captivity, preserved by those who remained in the Land of Israel, as opposed to Judaism, which they see as a related but altered and amended religion, brought back by those returning from the Babylonian Captivity.
Interestingly, though Jesus clarified the Samaritans as being in the wrong, he did not discount theme from the faith. And even though the Jews were correct in doctrine, Jesus still considered their actions being so much based in legalism, hey were in need of just as much correction.
- John 4:22-24 NASB – 22 “You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 “But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. 24 “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
The first unspoken theology is that God discounts anyone who lacks in their doctrinal understanding. God seems to be in the process of seeking worshipers, not discounting them.
Jesus then gives another famous reference to the Samaritans:
- Luke 10:29-37 NASB – 29 But wishing to justify himself, he said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30 Jesus replied and said, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, and they stripped him and beat him, and went away leaving him half dead. 31 “And by chance a priest was going down on that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 “Likewise a Levite also, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 “But a Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion, 34 and came to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on [them;] and he put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 “On the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return I will repay you.’ 36 “Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers’ [hands?]” 37 And he said, “The one who showed mercy toward him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do the same.”
Even when getting the point of the parable the disciples (in the know) still could not bring themselves to say that the Samaritan was the true neighbor.
The second unspoken theology is that those we consider as the most wrong, are also on the outs with God. In the first illustration Jesus corrected the Samaritan woman, in the second he corrected the Jewish disciples. God did not discount the Samaritans and nor did he discount the Jews
For an argument to happen, it takes two. When one decides to behave in a loving manner to a disagreement, the argument turns into a grudge. What was that Paul said?
- 1 Corinthians 6:7 NASB – 7 Actually, then, it is already a defeat for you, that you have lawsuits with one another. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be defrauded?
I think the Holy Spirit is far more capable than any human element to take care of his church should false teaching arise. I am not saying to not practice discernment nor shrink back when asked to speak up. But learning to love does far more to reach the hearts of those we do not see eye to eye to eye, more than harsh words, criticisms, or accusations.
So, I encourage you to discern the need to love much my friends . . .