Last week we talked about the nature and character of God and how we all have some sort of framework that we’ve developed or that we’ve been taught about who he is and how he operates. The crux of the discussion was that it’s never wise for us to try and determine what God is or isn’t allowed to do. In other words… Don’t put God in a box.
This week I want to look at the same passage but come at it from a different direction.
“Master,” said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we tried to stop him, because he is not one of us.”50 “Do not stop him,” Jesus said, “for whoever is not against you is for you.”
When the disciples come across someone who is doing something that is a positive thing they try and stop him because he is not one of the disciples. Which is to say he’s not a part of our club and God can only work through our club.
Jesus says “don’t stop him, for whoever is not against you is for you.”
This is an incredible line that the church and many Christians have got backwards.
Many of us have flipped this and carry with us the idea that “whoever is not for us is against us.”
This may seem like a subtle difference but it carries a large impact.
Here’s what I mean…..
If my starting point or the way I view the world begins with whoever is not FOR us is AGAINST us then I will primarily be looking for people who are just like me.
What we typically mean when we say someone is FOR me is that they are on my side. People who are for me are people that think like me, that act like me, that are like me.
In order for somebody to be FOR us when it comes to church, it usually means that they line up with us doctrinally and they believe the same way we do about issues like baptism and salvation and heaven and hell and drinking and sex and on and on and on.
And if they do not line up with us exactly on all accounts then they are not for us which means that based on our own statement then they are essentially against us.
What this means then is, as we go through our lives and run into people of all different kinds of backgrounds and upbringings and ways to think and view the world, all of which will be different than our own, we will develop the tendency to view everything or everyone that is different than us or the way we think as an enemy.
I mean after all … If they’re not FOR us they are AGAINST us.
The problem with this, of course, is this isn’t what Jesus said.
He said … Whoever is not AGAINST you is FOR you.
Which means that rather than looking for enemies everywhere you go you get to look for teammates.
Which means when you bump into something new or come across someone or some idea that is different than you or what you think, the starting point is not adversarial.
The start point of Jesus is one of inclusion….. Don’t stop him.
Don’t stop the guy that’s healing people. Just because he’s not in your group doesn’t mean he’s your enemy, in fact, he’s on your team.
What a better way to view …. everything.
When your starting point on how you view world aligns with the teaching of Jesus, whoever is not AGAINST you is FOR you, then it allows you to understand and approach life with the understanding that difference is ok.