Pride and religion can be a dangerous mix when confronting the challenging issues the world faces.
May 29, 2017, 5:00 AM

For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us.  Ephesians 2:14


Pride and religion can be a dangerous mix when confronting the challenging issues the world faces. The greater our passion towards an issue the higher the stakes we feel. When this is our mindset, conversations quickly turn into debates we want to win at all costs. Trying to get God “on our side” often brings out the worst in us. Why? Because pride yields superiority.  Rather than looking for commonalities, we cling to our differences.  It’s us vs. them and right vs. wrong.


If we allow the person on the other side of the issue to get a word in edge wise, we quickly scoff and wonder, “How could they think like that?” But that’s as far as we go in searching out answers to that question. When pride dictates our perspective, we see no value in being curious about their story, their side, or their thoughts. It’s much easier to craft a story in our mind that fills in the blanks. Crossing the aisle only occurs when we attempt to drag others to our side. In our mind, the only way for this insane world to become sane is for everyone to see things from our perspective. They have to think, act and believe exactly the way we do.


Only when people rally around the issues we are most passionate about will true peace, unity and freedom be felt. Yet, for a moment lets imagine this scenario actually comes true. Everyone sees eye-to-eye on a specific issue – no arguments, only agreement. Instead of getting utopia, we’d be falling for a trap. We’d be settling for second best and living short sighted.  If the enemy can’t keep us divided, he will settle for us unifying around anything other than Christ, including our issues.  Without us even realizing it, unity around the issues becomes idolatry and the thing we truly worship.


I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me. John 17:23 When Jesus prays in John 17 that the church would be one He is speaking of a different type of unity. It’s a unity centered on the person of Christ, not a robotic agreement of every single issue. As we grow more into the image of Christ individually, we become one collectively.  We can all agree the system we’re currently using isn’t going to solve the issues in our country. A different way of thinking about the world around us and our role within it is required. We need to bring our issues to Christ rather than Christ to our issues.


The more passionate we are about an issue, the more submissive we need to be. We must look within ourselves and be honest about what drives our behavior and our response to others. What fuels our passion? Am I influenced by pride? Have I taken Truth and made it all about myself? Am I twisting Scripture to fit my agenda or to make His name known?


This is my Prayer: Father God, let me lay the issues that stir something within me at Your feet. Lord help me to respond to the needs and issues around me with humility and grace. Jesus let me love others on the other side of the aisle, the way You love them.   Lord teach me to let understanding and compassion define my actions. In Jesus’ name, Amen.