Kathy and I are away on business right now and I’ve had the privilege of spending time with a man who loves God and loves people the way Jesus did in the gospels. When I’m around him I can feel Jesus’ spirit inside him. I thoroughly enjoy hanging out with this guy. Interestingly, we have major differences when it comes to doctrine.
But I don’t care.
It’s well established by researchers that social norming is one of the most powerful forces on earth. So, I like to use that to my advantage. I like to find people I want to be like and hang with them whenever I can. (for more on social norming see Chapter 8: Find Friends Like Jesus)
I wasn’t always that way. For most of my life I wanted to be around people who were like-minded. It just felt comfortable, even comforting. So when I chose friends that way, most of my time was spent with people from the same or a similar flavor of Christianity. That my friends shared the same or similar doctrinal views was very important to me.
I don’t seek out friends that way any more. It’s not that doctrine isn’t important. Every Jesus follower should try to understand Biblical truth as accurately as possible. It’s just that no matter how hard we try, every one of us from every denomination, will learn about how we got it wrong in certain areas after we’re gone from this world and we’re in the presence of God. God knows that of course.
Who I want to become is a person who loves God and loves people like Jesus loves God and loves people. So a few years ago I started seeking out opportunities to be with Christians who love like Jesus loves: regardless of their denomination or doctrinal beliefs. Sometimes those people hold doctrinal beliefs that are the same as mine.
And sometimes they don’t.
Jesus didn’t say, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples: if you have accurate doctrine.” (not John 13:35)
Jesus said, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35)
I want to be that guy. The one who loves the way Jesus said we should love.
And to get there I’m trying to hang with Christians who love the way Jesus loves, regardless of their doctrinal beliefs.
Photo of friends serving together via Goodfellow Airforce Base — labeled for reuse on Google Images