The round table this month brings the question: “Should strong relationships be formed with those who have different religious views than you?”
Should they? Of course. Relationships can be categorized into three distinct areas: public, private and personal. You will likely encounter someone who has different religious views on a broad level or molecular level at some point in your life. The bible teaches us in Romans 12:18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
Living at peace with everyone is not easy; if it were, society would not encounter the troubles our systems deal with. The key to developing a relationship on any level and living at peace amongst one another is respect.
Respect is a powerful word and concept. It is the core component, the binding element that breeds diversity amongst a crowd. It’s through respect people can discover unity. It is through respect and unity diversity is appreciated and can be celebrated.
The United States of America allows us the liberty to have different religious views. It’s up to us to practice the liberty to respect one another. We may not agree on every fundamental or molecular component; but we can respect, we each have the right to religious liberties and we can respect each other.
Relationships are critical to moving communities forward. There may be a reader out there who says, “but what does light have to do with darkness?” citing a passage from the scriptures. Respecting a belief and converting to a belief are two separate ideas. That is why, it is important to know what you stand for, exercise your right to vote and exercise the power of prayer. The bible tells us, as Jesus walked on the road to Emmaus, neither of the two followers of Christ recognized him. Jesus began to explain the scriptures to them; when they sat and ate, it was then, He was revealed. Respect opens the door for conversation. Respect for one another will go farther than the differences you have.
As a Pastor, I encourage you to love your neighbor. I encourage you to respect your neighbor. The bible teaches us a three-fold cord is not easily broken. My prayer is that His mission and cause be advanced for His honor and glory.
Pastor Mark Brown
Faith City Church