Hey guys! Have you missed me? I know, this first post I’ve done in a few weeks. Life has been hectic. My wife and I just bought our own cafe so most of our energy has gone into working there, if you’re ever on the Sunshine Coast let me know and I’ll make you a great cup (I hope). Anyway, enjoy this blog 🙂
The other day I was sitting and having a coffee with a friend of mine. We talked about a lot of different things but the one thing that stuck with me was what he said about theological debate and discussion. He told me that we need to move from trying to fit people into boxes and just let them become who God is making them too be. I loved that.
Boxes are both helpful and unhelpful. Helpful because putting people into boxes and labelling them helps us to recognise where they’re at in their journey, what they believe and even how to relate to them. This is good because God actually wants us to engage meaningfully, intellectually and teachfully (is that word?) with one another. Boxes are good for this. Unhelpful – because often when we box someone and label them we often end up treating them differently to how God wants us to treat them.
If someone is different to you theologically or philosophically, we tend intellectually alienate them, treat them like as though they don’t belong, like as though they’re a second class (this is called tribalism). I’ve done it, you’ve done it, we all do it, and I know exactly how it feels being on the receiving end of it (it does not feel nice). We too easily forget that doctrine doesn’t save per se, rather, Jesus does. Doctrine and theology aren’t the path to everlasting life, they are handrails to help us along our journey along the path. Please don’t get me wrong, theology and doctrine are important, obviously… I mean my blog is called Scribbling Theology, I love it… sometimes too much. It too easily becomes an idol and it easily becomes the way in which I filter my reality… even people through. I think there’s a better way.
Instead of letting labels and boxes define the people around you, let God define them. They’re image bearers (Gen 1:26), people who are loved by Jesus (John 3:16), who need grace and mercy as much as the rest of us. If there’s a label that we must use to define our relationship with others, if there’s a theology or a doctrine, let it be love (Colossians 3:14-16). Love that person and let them become who God is shaping them to be, not who you want them to be. If they’re behind, maybe that’s exactly where they need to be, if they’re different, maybe God has them there for a reason. Then, finally, grow with them, shape with them, sanctify with them. Teach and be taught. Live and let live. At the end of the day, when all is said and done, after all the advice, prayer and love, they’re life is between themselves and God and that’s a good thing.