I was reading the other day, as I often do, and the following quote made me stop completely. I actually couldn’t read any more for the rest of the day.
“How can we Christians claim to proclaim atoning reconciliation through the cross of Christ when we contradict it by refusing to be reconciled with one another, or to allow reconciliation through the body and blood of the Saviour to be translated into our Church divisions.” – Thomas Torrance
Read it again, if it didn’t stop you the first time.
Torrance’s point is for us to examine how we can proclaim that God reconciles us to Himself when we refuse to practice that with each other. How can we hold onto our divisions, debate and disagreements when Christ died to bring us together? How can we share the good news of reconciliation when we refuse to give up our inner Church disputes and divisions?
The easy (and preachy) thing to do would be to call out all the pastors who continue to divide over silly things. The easy thing to do would be to call out all the Christians who continue to hate one another and not forgive. The easy thing to do is to get on a soapbox and slam all of you who continue to hold onto grudges and divisions, and ignore the fact that Christ brought us together.
That would be easier, but not godly.
Because, the truth is, I struggle with holding onto bitterness and grudges sometimes. The truth is, I think my theology is obvious and right, whereas others is misguided at best and stupid at worst. The reason this quote stopped me isn’t because it highlighted the problems in the Church (although it does that); it’s that it highlighted the problems in me…
- That I would rather divide than work through things.
- That it’s easier to be right instead of reconciled.
- That sometimes I love my theology, my perspective and my opinions more than other’s.
Torrance’s point reminded me that I’m part of the problem. That the church’s tendency to place personal opinions, past hurts or theological preferences above people is a problem. Jesus died to reconcile us together, and we shouldn’t contradict it by refusing to reconcile with others.
So, this post isn’t meant to point out anything wrong in anyone else, rather it’s meant to remind us that often the problem isn’t with “out there,” but “inside us.” And, that’s why I stopped reading. Because I realized I had some things to work on.