By Dr. Aresia Watson
"But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ,
by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. "
At the time of the writing of this, we are just finishing up another Olympics season. It was a year later than planned, absent spectators, but still filled with nail-biting moments and plenty of opportunities to root for the home team. In this case, the home team is the country a person is from. We like to see our country succeed and cheer wildly when they win the gold medal! For sports in general, we often find ourselves cheering for the home team. It is not always the case, as sometimes there is something about another team we like or perhaps a player that causes us to root for a team other than the one we live closest to, but even the old baseball theme song encourages us to “Root, root, root for the home team!”
Sports can make for some great moments, but the truth is, the outcome of sports is just temporal. Even world records eventually fall as the next “greatest of all-time” Olympian comes along. Winning teams loft their trophy high, but within just a few short months, the quest for the trophy begins again.
There is, however, a home team that is eternal, and not just temporal. This is the team we call the local church. We recognize that the body of believers makes up the church, but God has designed the local church to be the focus of our Christian unity, fellowship, and much more. I think we also recognize that personalities within this local team can sometimes cause friction. The friction between Euodias and Syntyche was a big enough problem that the Apostle Paul called them out on it. Thankfully, our names are not being sent out in freshly written epistles today!
But, what if that was a possibility? Would we potentially be in a position where we have been disturbing the home team enough to be reprimanded instead of praised? As we have gone through the covid pandemic, we have been reminded about the fact that different people have different opinions. Sadly, we have seen personal opinions elevated to such a level that instead of building up the home team, it has been torn apart. Think about the highly opinionated discussions regarding mask vs. no mask, vaccine vs. no vaccine, a fraudulent vs. fair election, and … you can quickly grow the list! The tone of these discussions (and tone is really hard to determine on social media!) has threatened and at times succeeded in tearing apart the home team unity we are supposed to have.
I’m not saying we cannot have our own opinions (anyone who knows me personally knows I definitely have opinions!!), but I would like to encourage each of us to think about what we do with those opinions. How important are those opinions when compared to God’s desire for us to encourage one another and lift up the other members of our home team? As our verse reminds us, our glory is in Christ our Lord – not arguing our opinion the best, or not listening to what someone else might be thinking! Let’s work to encourage instead of tear down. Let’s seek to lift each other up and cheer on the members of the home team. The world is being torn apart right now. God’s desire is for us to have unity and fellowship through our bond in salvation through Christ.
In the next post, I’ll list some ways that we can do that!