This past weekend, I was honored to attend my niece’s baby shower in Tennessee. It was a reason to get together with my four older sisters, and we had a great time eating BBQ on Saturday night. One thing I realized the next morning, however, is that it’s probably not a good idea for a devout Baptist and a devout Catholic to stay under the same roof.
When I went into the kitchen Sunday morning, two of my sisters were debating whether or not Mary, the mother of Jesus, remained a virgin after the birth of Jesus. Both of them cited their own textual evidence for their position based upon their bibles, one a protestant bible and one a Catholic bible. Voices started to get raised and I let them know that this bothered me. They lowered their voices, but it wasn’t long before they were in a heated debate again. I finally said, “Does this really matter?” One sister responded, “Well, yes because…” She then explained why it mattered to her. I then asked while pointing at the other sister, “Do you think she’s going to hell for not believing as you do?” That took her back, and she admitted that she didn’t. I then asked the other sister if she thought the first sister was going to hell for not agreeing with her. She also said no. I said, “See..doesn’t matter, so why argue?” I got up and went upstairs for a couple minutes to finish getting ready to go.
Later, when I came back downstairs, they were debating the Catholic sacrament of Confession and whether or not a person must go before the priest and confess his or her sins to be forgiven. My Catholic sister cited her textual evidence and my Baptist sister countered. As the debate continued, I finally felt the need to witness…something I would never have thought of doing a few years ago. I’ll spare you the details since this post is already running a bit long. It’s nothing I haven’t shared in previous posts. Anyway, things were fairly peaceful after that, and we enjoyed the rest of our weekend.
That being said, I think that our conversations with other Christians need to focus on the core tenets of our faith as Christians (e.g. because God loves us, he sent his son to die for our sins, for instance) and in following his greatest commandments of loving Him with our whole heart, mind, soul, and strength and loving our neighbors as ourselves. It’s bad enough that we have all of these different denominations dividing the body of Christ. Do you truly think God is happy when he sees his children arguing? Wouldn’t our time be better spent in showing the love of Christ to others? Is it better to be loving or to be “right”?
Where charity and love prevail,
there God is ever found;
Brought here together by Christ’s love,
by love are we thus bound.
With grateful joy and holy fear
God’s charity we learn;
Let us with heart and mind and soul
now love God in return.
Forgive we now each other’s faults
as we our faults confess;
And let us love each other well
in Christian holiness.
Let strife among us be unknown,
let all contention cease;
Be God’s the glory that we seek,
be ours God’s holy peace.
Let us recall that in our midst
dwells God’s begotten Son;
As members of his body joined,
we are in Christ made one.
No race or creed can love exclude,
if honored be God’s name;
Our family embraces all
whose Father is the same.