The question is often asked by churchgoers who want nothing to do with engaging the culture “Why can’t we all just learn to get along with each other?” May I answer that for you if you’re one asking the question? “Because we are not all wanting to go to the same place.”
It’s as simple as that. It’s analogous to going to an international airport where aircraft are continuously landing from other cities and nations and taking off to go around the world and saying, “Why can’t we all just get on the same plane?”
The answer is so obvious that it makes the question itself patently ridiculous.
“Why can’t we all just get along?” Because I want to go where the word of God is exalted and extolled. You want to go where the word of God is given a wink and a nod. She wants to go where she is exalted. He wants to go where hedonism reigns and they want to go where the word of God has been banished. Everyone on that journey believes (rightly so) that the others are intentionally hindering their travels. As an evangelical Christian I believe it is sin to walk my path silently as the others are headed to destruction. They all believe it is just as wrong to attempt to shepherd them onto the path I am on.
Creationism implies one set of values and standards. Evolution implies another very different set. Those who are strict Constitutionalists have a very different vision of America than those who believe it is an evolving document. Some churchgoers believe kindness will get you to Heaven while others believe only being washed in the blood of Jesus can punch your ticket. Some denominations ordain women as pastors while others wouldn’t dream of doing such a thing. Everyone is certain that their beliefs are vital to both the present and the future.
As far as I can tell that pretty much answers why we can’t all learn to just get along with each other. But I think we all know that question is really just a façade for the real question. When people exasperatingly ask why we can’t everyone just learn to get along with each other what they are really asking is “Why can’t you learn to keep your views and opinions to yourself and stop causing all this trouble?”
My response to that? Where in the Bible am I ever encouraged to keep the will of God for humanity to myself? None of the prophets kept their dissenting views to themselves. As a matter of fact the “watchman” passages of Ezekiel 3 and 33 make it very clear that if one does not warn the wicked of the consequences of their sins their blood will be on the watchman’s head. Jesus didn’t hesitate to aim barbs of criticism at those whose views were contrary to the will of God: “Then the disciples came and said to him, ‘Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying’?” (Matthew 15:12). I couldn’t find the apology that Jesus issued when told He had offended someone. And if the Apostles had believed that getting along with everyone was what God wanted then none of them would have died martyrs deaths would they?
It would be nice if everyone could all just get along but I keep looking at both history and experience and nowhere do I find that’s ever happened for any length of time. It would be nice if ISIS would learn to get along with all the Christians in the Middle East (and the world for that matter) but they have made it clear that capitulation is the only way they will ever accept getting along with Christians. So what do we do? Nothing? What a plan. And the heads literally keep rolling.
It would be nice if President Obama would just get along with the Republicans in Congress but he has made it patently clear that if he doesn’t get what he wants he will simply sign an executive order to bypass Congress. So what do we do? Nothing? While our Constitutional Republic is being trashed right under our noses?
It would be great if homosexuals would stop undermining the family and listen to the electorate who in more than 30 states voted to keep marriage defined as one man and one woman in holy matrimony. But they won’t. So what do we do? Just let them pull the rug out from under society and watch it burn in the name of tolerance?
It is the absolute height of callousness and selfishness to suggest that while sin and darkness grow in influence and severity that the “Christian” thing to do is keep silent in the name of tolerance. While our President would cite the Crusades as evidence of Christianity gone awry (incorrectly I might add but that is another blog) I would cite the silence of Christians about so many things that are eating away at our nation like a cancer as evidence that something is wrong.
The Church in America has become the priest and Levite in the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37). We are stepping over or even going around those who have fallen prey to sin and sinners. We don’t want to be bothered with the inconvenience. We don’t want to pay the price of dealing with the aftermath of sin’s encounter with our neighbor. I guess we look at the man fallen among thieves and tell him he should have just tried a little harder to get along with them. It wasn’t their fault they turned to crime. They were either born that way or were shaped by their environment such that taking what isn’t theirs is their only plausible recourse. He should have gone with the flow and maybe they wouldn’t have beaten him. He should have simply handed over, without complaint, everything they demanded of him.
No, if getting along with people means learning to ignore the devastation of sin in the lives of those around me then you can count me out. If being accepted by culture has supplanted being obedient to God then I don’t suppose that me and culture are going to be getting along very well.
You know, the God-wants-everyone-to-be-nice crowd loves to cite “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth” from the Beatitudes in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:5) as their proof text. It’s interesting in that 5 verses later Jesus says, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake, for there is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:10). So the meek get earth while the persecuted get Heaven. I think I know which route I want to take.