WE all know what it is to be offended and hurt by the words of others. Over the course of my ministry life, I have received many unpleasant messages. The majority of them are from other Christians, and are usually because I am a female minister.
I tend to ignore such negativity and move on. However, I am concerned that such people tend to weaponise the Bible. In other words, they use the Biblical text to attack and wound others; and it is usually toward people they have never met. They appear to be confident that not only has God given them the role of judge and jury, but also that God would want (and be even pleased) for them to make contact with someone and rip them apart. They don’t make room for healthy theological debate, other different interpretations, and understandings.
The very basis for any healthy faith conversation is respect. Of course we are going to have differing views, but this does not give any of us permission to attack anyone. Jesus said: “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” I believe the heartbeat of this verse is to love even when we don’t agree.
We must stop tearing each other apart, and stop with the theological red lines. I am worried that often the Church is more concerned about whose theology or doctrine is correct, without ever mastering what it truly means to simply “Love God and our neighbour.”
Let’s remember…
• God is not male or female.        
• God is not doctrine.
• God is not Protestant.
• God is not Catholic.
• God is not hell.
• God is not hate.
• God is love.
And we are His beloved. The word ‘beloved’ derives from the Greek agapétos, meaning our worth is not based on what we do, what we have achieved, how good we are, or even in what we believe. We are the ‘beloved’ because we are created by a God who cannot love us more or less. You are loved by God no matter what. You are His beloved. May His love overflow from our hearts towards other’s; including those we disagree with. Let’s remember, there is room for us all.