I recently read the story of a man who, in 2006, was driving along a road in Pune India, a city located in the Maharashtra province of central India. The man was driving a common mode of transportation in India, his motorcycle with its mighty 2 stroke engine, through torrential rains on a road that was less than well paved. He did not travel alone, however, seated atop his gas tank with its paws resting on the handle bars was his pet cat; apparently Indian cats enjoy riding in this fashion.
He came to a point in the road where he fell into a ditch more than ten feet deep that had been created by the incessant rains. The man and his disgruntled soaking wet cat stayed in that ditch for nearly half an hour until some local law enforcement officers took notice of their plight and eventually rescued them out of the muddy ditch where they had been trapped.
Often, we get trapped in muddy ditches of fruitless activity. In Romans 14:1 the Apostle Paul writes, "Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things." (NKJV) Or "not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions." (NASB) Or "without passing judgment on disputable matters." (NIV)
When we get trapped in conflicts within the church, be it the local church or the body of Christ at large, over disputable matters, it is like getting trapped in potholes out of which we can not seem to climb.
As God's people, we do well lay aside matters of preference in favor of matters of eternal value. We do well not to allow secondary matters of faith distract us from the goal of seeing unity thrive among us, unity in the local fellowship and unity in the body of Christ, just as Jesus prayed in the garden on that fateful evening for believers everywhere, "that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me." (John 17:21 NKJV)
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