In all things, charity

Updated: Mar 25, 2020

January 30, 2020

Leadership Notes

I was thinking about how God is building Covenant Church in the light of Galatians 5:22-23. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. These values are especially important when going through difficulty or dealing with difficulty or when there is disagreement over non-essentials. By the way, I will be exploring these ideas beginning in March in an Adult Education class based on "Jesus Outside the Lines."

Christian essentials include things like salvation in Christ alone, the Bible is the infallible Word of God, Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary, the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ, and so on. The essentials are Biblically grounded. They are timeless. The non-essentials are things that Christians of good faith can disagree over yet still remain grounded in God's Word. These are things like what kinds of food to eat, whether to drink alcohol {moderately}, how women should dress, whether men should have beards, and things like that.

What happens, though, is we sometimes treat non-essentials the same way we do essentials. We hold tightly to them. When we do that, it can lead to division. Never a good thing. That's why Galatians 5:22-23 speaks truth into our lives.

Here's where the rubber hits the road. What about when somebody says something that's not part of our worldview? What about a conversation where a different opinion or point-of-view is shared? I like what Andy Stanley said. He said, "We don't need to be afraid of new information." I would add or different information. I learned a long time ago not to let those things bother me or concern me.

One final thought. How do we hold tightly to essentials without drifting from Galatians 5? Our own denominational standard keeps us true - "In essentials, unity…In non-essentials, liberality…In all things, charity." That means we don't compromise on beliefs or how we treat others. We will sometimes feel a tension between the two, but that's not a bad thing.

For example, Covenant Church is a Right-to-Life church. The same goes for our denomination, the Evangelical Presbyterian Church. It's something we talk about, at times. We don't hide it. We're not going to not talk about it because we don't want to offend people who disagree or put up a barrier for younger people {whatever that assumes} becoming part of Covenant Church. The desire to take the life of an innocent whole human being will never be a non-essential. And if it is perceived of as divisive, then so be it. Can there be unity when the truth is at stake? But there can always be charity. There must always be benevolent goodwill toward others. Galatians 5 demands it.

It's really important for me to listen to people who don't experience the world the way I do. Differences rarely offend or upset me. A different point-of-view is only divisive if I let it be. The world needs people who are charitable in all things…now, more than ever.

Be of Good Cheer,


P.S. Last minute edit…just read this from Warren Buffett: "You will continue to suffer if you have an emotional reaction to everything that is said to you. True power is sitting back and observing things with logic. True power is restraint. If words control you that means everyone else can control you. Breathe and allow things to pass."

P.S.S. Now that's worth laminating and putting up on the fridge!

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