I called it some time ago. Shopping carts. Shopping carts were once the measure of morality according to the weird world of good-person-policing on the internet. Post after post went around on social media where people declared that leaving a shopping cart in the parking lot instead of putting it in the cart corral tells us all we need to know about you as a person. You’re a horrible human being who probably drowns kittens in your spare time. You see, this policing started small. This moral posturing and blanket condemning of strangers and friends began innocently enough, back before the world exploded with real issues.
And look at what 2020 has blossomed into: a never-ending roller coaster of moral declarations upon our souls by everyone from Cardi B to the dear little old lady who lives down the street. Think of all of things that have made the list of moral evil in the past year: wearing masks, not wearing masks, talking too much, being too quiet, not using the right hashtags, being too worried, not being worried enough, being confused, being unsure, being depressed, being too happy, and the list could go on and on. Everyone has their own ideas about what is morally acceptable, and everyone seems to feel equally justified and certain of what qualifies someone to be named a “good” person. And now, as if the world isn’t sad enough, people who watch football are on the chopping block. Time to cancel the football fans, I guess.
The Bible shows us who God is and who we are. It teaches us the gospel, and it’s important that we get it right when it comes to first-level doctrines. But, outside of those, godly Christian people can come to different personal conclusions on a variety of issues in the world that the Bible doesn’t necessarily speak to. I miss the days when Christian people could be compelled to refrain from doing something based on their own personal convictions, without imposing their convictions on everyone else as if they are gospel truth for the entire world.
In other words, there is room in the church for disagreement on things that aren’t top-level theological truths. Football is not a first level issue, and neither is mask-wearing or a Netflix subscription or whether you put the shopping cart in the cart corral. Churches have even been known to thrive when they aren’t unified on their usage of hashtags. Believe it or not.
I know that we love our own opinions. I certainly do. I know we all have our own pet causes and frustrations and even horrors. I get that. But, we have got to stop condemning each other over things that reasonable Christians can disagree about. How can the Body of Christ operate with unity and peace if all we ever do is yell at each other? How much more time do we spend making moral judgments than we do making disciples? I would hate to see that time card.
Watch football. Or don’t. But extend maximum grace to your brothers and sisters in Christ, giving them the benefit of every doubt. Heaven knows you and I need the same grace extended to us.
I, therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.