What Really Matters?

What do you see when you approach a staircase?

Me? I see a diabolical obstacle designed to keep me from reaching the other level.

Of course I don’t believe the builder intended to frustrate me. I’m simply seeing the stairs through my personal biases.

I know the creator of this sign meant well. I’m sure he didn’t intend the chuckle as I picture myself rattling down 15-20 flights of smoke-filled stairs because “the sign told me to do it!”

The stairs are a good reminder for me when I’m tempted to pound on my bible because “it says what it says.”

In my experience I’ve known people of good will who love Jesus with all their hearts, and yet have studied deeply and reached different conclusions about certain theological issues. They read the same words, follow the same Lord, but hear different results.

Augustine said: In the essentials, unity. In non-essentials, liberty. In all things, charity (love).

I often picture the folks I spoke about above sitting in a room. Certainly they’d disagree about important issues–how could it be different in a room filled with smart, educated people with their own biases, backgrounds, and life experiences?

But they’d agree about love, about service, about placing God at the center. They’d agree that following Jesus comes first, that the CHURCH is more important than any individual church. They’d agree on grace, forgiveness, gratitude, and hope.

Those are the essentials, the things the world needs from us.

I don’t read scripture in a vacuum. The bible says what it says, but what I hear is colored by my biases and preconceptions as well as those of my teachers.

I believe God wants me to think, to study and listen and reach conclusions. But I always want to hold my ideas lightly, without the need to be right or win the argument.

I hope I listen before I speak. What unites matters more than what divides.

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Copyright by Rich Dixon, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.

Rich is an author and speaker. He is the author of:

Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance. Visit his web site www.relentlessgrace.com

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