The False Division


S (Scripture): Mark 9:38 John said to him, “Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him because he was not following us.” 39 But Jesus said, “Do not stop him, because no one who does a miracle in my name will be able soon afterward to say anything bad about me. 40 For whoever is not against us is for us. 41 For I tell you the truth, whoever gives you a cup of water because you bear Christ’s name will never lose his reward.”

O (Observation):  Jesus sees the disciples getting jealous. Or are they wanting to distance themselves from others who believe in Jesus, “those others” who don’t know the FULL truth, since they didn’t literally follow Jesus, like the 12 have?

The 12 did put forth great effort, in response to Jesus’ invitation.  They did give up a lot.  Maybe since others didn’t learn directly from Jesus, their acts of healing wouldn’t be fully proper.  

Or, as I first stated…maybe they’re just plain jealous.  

Regardless of the cause for the disciples’ dismay, Jesus shuts down the dissension, and works for a common understanding:  if they’re not against us, they’re for us; doing a good deed in the name of Jesus is still a good deed. 

A (Application): I can’t stand some Christians.  I really can’t.  And I know a whole bunch who can’t stand me.  And that is typically where the train stops, unfortunately.  

For some reason, the way I’ve been wired, is to try to ride the train down the tracks just a little further.   I try to understand WHY the difference exists…why the anger exists.  

From my perspective, I see some Christians hurting people and causing people to feel left out or abandoned.   From others’ perspectives, I don’t hold people to any type of standards or I invite people to sin without need for repentance.  (Granted, I don’t fully know what others think…)

In any case, I find myself in conversations with people on different ends of the spectrum of myself.  Yet others rarely challenge or approach me when they differ in opinion.   I try to make myself approachable, but a wall still exists for many.  

I think a sign of great health for God’s people is to be able to struggle through differences (ride the train down the tracks a little further) to see that while they differ in understanding, they can still work towards an ultimate good, by doing good deeds in Jesus’ name. 

What has been your experience with people who differ from you in their Christian understanding?  Has it been amicable? Divisive?  A bit of both???

P (Prayer):  Lord, help us to see the good deeds that others do in your name as GOOD for your kingdom.  Let us praise one another, to the glory of God.  Amen.  

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