This is such a classic scene from the show Seinfeld where a man who shows up to engage and support a group is violently persecuted for not wearing a tiny ribbon just like everyone else.
The people are so caught up in the fact that Kramer refuses to wear the ribbon that they ignore that he is out there with them being just as much of a support as anyone else.
It’s just that one tiny little piece of non-conformity that gets blown out of proportion to overshadow the fact that he is far more of an ally to them than all the others who not only didn’t wear the ribbon, they didn’t even show up.
Seeking to enforce complete and total compliance in superficial matters is foolishness.
Being in the thick of thin things is a great way to get nothing done other than gratifying pride and unrighteous dominion over others.
I’ve been thinking about how this could apply to us at church. How often do people see very active Brother So-and-so living the gospel in a way that others disapprove of? “How dare he do that on the Sabbath!” or “How can he even have a temple recommend with all those energy drinks he consumes?”
Jesus taught quite a bit concerning our habit to judge one another unjustly.
Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye?Matthew 7:3
Are people there working willingly alongside us, being present and participating, but not doing it “our way” or the way we think it should be done?
Yes, it is possible that what they are doing is indeed wrong and we may indeed be right. In those cases, we can offer to correct someone, but I think we can do that in a way that allows them time and room to grow.
When I think of my own experience, any time I am frustrated with someone, typically it is because they are not meeting my expectations. At that point, I should question whether my expectations are valid and if so, how I can show grace to others.
If my expectations are not valid, then I am the one with the problem and need to figure out how to adjust my own perspectives accordingly.
I don’t like contention, but I do kind of enjoy disagreement and debate. You have to be willing to enter those disagreements because they exist and you cannot pretend that they don’t. Just like lifting weights at the gym provides the resistance that produces strength, I think that in order to become one, we need to work through disagreement.
While oneness is our goal, the way cannot be by force, only persuasion. Pride will not produce oneness, only humility.