Twenty-five years ago, I asked a wise pastor his opinion about the battles he fought over issues of faith. As a younger pastor he was known to have had a history of picking verbal fights with anyone with whom he disagreed. He had thankfully mellowed over the years.
I asked this pastor to describe the most important life-lesson he had learned. He said, “I have learned to exercise more wisdom in the battles I choose to fight.” In other words, he only entered battles that had eternal consequence. The rest of the battles were over personal opinion and interpretation of non-essential issues and none of those battles were worth shedding relational blood over.
The Apostle Paul said, “Welcome with open arms fellow believers who don’t see things the way you do. And don’t jump all over them every time they do or say something you don’t agree with.” (Romans 14:1, The Message) If our lives are going to model the oneness that Jesus said would have the power to cause an unbelieving world to actually believe the message of Jesus Christ, then we need to greet each other with open arms and stop jumping into battles that don’t need to be fought.