Every Christian, at one point or another, has experienced conflict with another Christian over some of the finer points of doctrine found in the Scripture. This has been an issue in the Church since the New Testament, as Paul addressed in 1 Corinthians 8. While these points many times bear discussing, these discussions can too soon turn into dogmatic arguments devoid of the grace of God.
God said where two or more are gathered in His Name He is present, but we can be sure that once they start going at each other's throats maliciously over whether or not such-and-such is suitable for a Christian, God has left the room. Yes, convictions are necessary. A Christian must have something to believe on these particulars. But we have to decide what hills to die on. If standing for a certain conviction will cost you love for another brother or sister, then maybe it isn’t worth standing for.
A Christ-like pattern
Look at the Gospels. What did Christ die for? I can tell you this; He didn’t die to defend His favorite viewpoints or doctrines. He didn’t die to make a statement about an article of Jewish teaching. He didn’t die to condemn strong drink or secular literature. No, He didn’t die to argue against anything. He died for love. Love for His enemies. Love for those who disagreed with Him, those who opposed Him. He died to bring them out of death and into the kingdom of life.
A good question to ask ourselves next time we encounter an argument over convictions is this: Did Christ die for this matter? If the answer is, “No He didn’t,” then neither should we. If the matter serves not to build up our brother but rather to frustrate him, make him upset or hurt, than we should leave it alone. Don’t touch it. It is better to let the Lord deal with whatever is wrong with his viewpoint, or with ours for that matter. The only exception to this is if our brother or sister is in obvious sin and refuses to repent of it.
A very Narrow Way
Those who have visited many caves will know about narrow paths. These tight squeezes are so narrow you barely have room to put one foot in front of the other. Sometimes you have to turn sideways to keep from getting stuck. Can you imagine trying to walk through one of these with a large backpack full of unnecessary supplies? You’d learn soon enough that either you must stay put or else strip yourself of the useless luggage to carry on.
In the same way, there is no room on the Narrow Path for us to lug along our favorite topics to debate. There simply is no way to keep our feet if we’re so concerned about these secondary issues. For example, whether or not to call Resurrection Day “Easter.” This is definitely worth discussing, but if it becomes such a big issue that it crowds out the joy of Christ’s resurrection then it is best to drop the whole argument altogether. Christ didn’t die for that matter, so give it no more than its due attention.
In the end, there is only one hill to die on. As we follow Christ we die where He died, and that is only at Calvary. Yes, we have convictions but let us hold them in open hands before the Lord. The love of Christ must be our model.