One day, while attending the Kingdom Bound Christian Music festival, I
couldn't help but notice two seagulls bickering over half of a hot dog bun. One
arrogantly held the prized piece in its beak while the other one was making
itself hoarse with vulgar quibble. The one with the bun turned and ran (Wouldn't
you???), but the second, less fortunately gull, followed closely behind. In its
haste the lucky gull dropped its prize and the bun
broke in two. It quickly grabbed up one of the pieces
and swallowed it whole (I had no idea they had such big mouths! Or should I say
beaks!). The second gull then grabbed the other half of the bun and flew away.
I had to wonder: Wouldn't it have been a more pleasant experience if they had just shared the bun with one another?
These two seagulls remind me of how much Christianity has become known for its incessant bickering over doctrines: "I am right, you need to do this this way!" "No, I am right, you have to do it MY way!"
To tell you the truth, neither of them is right! Both sides have deviate from Jesus' main message: "Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another." (John 13:34 NIV)
Didn't Jesus emphasize this message? Didn't He say that the world would recognize His followers by their love? "By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." (John 13:35 NIV)
Promoting a God of doctrine does not promote unity. It promotes discord! Take, for example, the Egyptian Christians of the Byzantine period. The Orthodox Christians of that time insisted that Jesus had one nature, both divine and human, without separation (Called monophysitism). The Coptic Christians emphasized also that Jesus had only a single nature, but retained all the characteristics of both the divine and human nature (Called Miaphysitism).
That's religion for you, no one agrees with one another!
And when the Muslim general Amr ibn al-As crossed to conquer Egypt, the Coptic Christians were so tired of the harassment of the Orthodox Christians that many of them actually helped the invaders!
Does this single doctrine even promote Jesus' main message of love?
"I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me." (John 17:20-21 NIV) Notice that Jesus says it is by unity that to the world will know that our message is legitimate!
More often than not we are like these bickering seagulls, fighting over a morsel of dried-up food, all the while ignoring the buffet that God Himself has prepared for us. We didn't become Christians so that we could fight with one another. We did that before we became Christians! Instead, we were touched by Jesus' unending love, and this is what motivated us to want to get to know Him better!
Where have we gone wrong? Have we forgotten the Parable of the Good Samaritan? Have we become like the legalized Pharisees who, though Jesus was in their midst, couldn't even recognize Him?
It is time that we drop our differences and start following Jesus. Let's follow in His steps by promoting real love and real life, not the fossilized doctrines of religious institutions.
"From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work." (Eph 4:16)
Remember 1 Cor 8:1 "Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up."
Will we continue to fight for our morsel of doctrine? Or are we going to start sharing what Jesus came to this planet for?
Only in love and unity can we truly worship the One who came to save us from dire misery.
"But it's the ONLY way! You have to believe it!"
"That's fine. Have I ever told you that I love you?"
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