September 2021

2 Peter 1:5-7 “For this very reason, you must make every effort to support your faith with goodness, and goodness with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with endurance, and endurance with godliness, and godliness with mutual affection, and mutual affection with love.”

“Why is it that God speaks to Christians differently?” That was the question I received in an email recently. The writer wanted to know how it is that dedicated, faithful Christians can come down on different sides of an issue and often be very far apart. It is a good question. I wish I had an answer.

Rev. Dr. David Preuss, former president of the American Lutheran Church, a predecessor body of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, was asked a question very similar to the one I received. And his response was something like, “So that we remember that we are saved, not by the Law but by Grace.”

Being right does not make us right with God. Being saved by grace does.

Jesus gave his disciples a new commandment, “be right all the time.” NOT! His new commandment was, love one another. That is our job, our calling, our work as Christians. Imagine what a witness that would be to the world if all Christians were to love each other.

Love enables us to seek what is best for those we disagree with. Love enables us to draw boundaries and speak the truth with respect.

And one more thing:

We all know how polarized our country is politically. Politics by nature is polarizing. Anything that is important to people will cause disagreement. And as Americans we seem to have strong opinions on everything! When was the last time you heard someone say, “I don’t have an opinion on that.” or, “I don’t really know enough to have an opinion on that topic.”?

This fall promises to be every bit as contentious as the fall of 2020. There will be much to disagree about. And much to be loving about. And much to be praying about. Read those verses from Second Peter one more time, please.

God’s peace,

Pr. Bob

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