Pick Your Side

There's an awful lot of angry debating going on these days.  Hostility over views and opinions and perspectives.  Name-calling and vitriol and hurling of insults.  Right and left and up and down and all over.

What bothers me the most are the sources.

Not from "people" but from Christians who insist that their "side" is right and demand that everyone agree with them. 
Or else.

I  personally have strong convictions about right and wrong.  I hold to certain defined beliefs on all sorts of social issues.  And I act on those beliefs - in the voting booth and, hopefully, in my life.

But I do not believe for one minute that those beliefs entitle me to label other people, to belittle them, to try and discredit their faith. Nor do I believe I should crumble under someone else's screaming insistence that their view is the "right one".

I appreciate a passion for dearly held beliefs - even if (especially if!) those beliefs differ from mine.  And I understand the yearning to stand up for those beliefs, particularly when we feel they are underrepresented or misrepresented.
I can respect that.
But I am deeply troubled by the growing tendency (made ever so visible and cancerous by social media) to blast those who differ with said views. To characterize our detractors as all sorts of vile labels.
All in the name of Christ.

Recent events and subsequent reactions made me think about this passage- Joshua 5:13-15

 When Joshua was by Jericho, he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing before him with his drawn sword in his hand. And Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you for us, or for our adversaries?” 14 And he said, “No; but I am the commander of the army of the Lord. Now I have come.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped and said to him, “What does my lord say to his servant?” 15 And the commander of the Lord's army said to Joshua, “Take off your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so.

In our fervor for elevating our "side" to the #1 position, perhaps we should consider the position of the Commander of the Army of the Lord...the pre-incarnate Christ.  That is the fact that all people on all sides of all issues are sinners in need of a Savior.  He is not concerned about the positions of our sides but rather that we need saving. 

I can be firmly convinced that my convictions are right....and still respect those with differing views who feel just as strongly. Truth be told, we don't know what God's stand is on some things.  Some social issues and doctrinal tenets and denominational divides.  I know we think we do, but lots of times we just might be really wrong. Instead of railing against those on the "other side", I want instead to reach out with the Gospel  Rather than blasting my "opponents", I hope to build a bridge that they can walk across to the Savior.  The unbelievers and my brothers and sisters in Christ.  The only truth I can stake my life on is that we are all sinners in need of a Savior.

And certainly we would do well to respond as Joshua did, when confronted with the truth that Christ presents - to be unconcerned with "our side" and instead worship Christ.