Coexistence is the new idea that is running rampantly across the United States and is finding itself plastered across countless bumpers and windows. What is this new idea and why has it become so widely popular?
The dictionary defines coexistence as “a policy of living peacefully with other nations, religions, etc., despite fundamental disagreements.” Well that does not sound so bad does it? It actually sounds like a good idea. But society today seems to have conjured up a different definition. Today, coexisting means accepting other world views and philosophies as our own, even if it goes against what we believe in. Coexistence calls us to reject our truth by declaring that ALL views are truth. Those who refuse to do this are viewed as hateful and stubborn.
Now this presents a problem. How can every worldview be the right answer? Surely there can only be one truth! Say there is a red balloon. It can only be a red balloon. Some may view it as a green balloon or even not a balloon at all, but it is still a red balloon. Some may argue about what shade of red the balloon is, but it can still be only one shade of red, regardless if people know what that shade truly is or not. There can only be one truth. On his famous Sermon on the Mount, Jesus explained this principle, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it” (Matthew 7:13-14). What Jesus is saying here is that many people will try to find a way to eternal life, but will be wrong. Only a few enter through the one and only way.
More than that, we know that God wants us to spread the truth. He told us this in the Great Commission: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20) Clearly we are called to evangelize. We are called to tell people the one and only truth.
The problem is that people get offended when we attempt to carry out our mission. They claim that we are trying to “shove our beliefs down their throats.” They say that our pursue of the truth is intolerant and insensitive. But this is not a surprise! Jesus knew that our evangelism would turn the world into chaos and told us so. He said in Matthew 10:34-36, “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn ‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law— a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.'” In fact, this was predicted long before Jesus even came to earth. In his remarks, Jesus was actually quoting Micah 7:6. So this must be important! What Jesus is saying is that he knows that Christianity will stir controversy in the world, so much so that it will rip families apart. At first this verse seems harsh, but as we take a look around, we can see that its truth is ringing throughout the world today. Debates, arguments, controversy: all of these are running rampant throughout our society as people reject the gospel truth. We are not called to “conform to the pattern of this world” (Romans 12:2), or to coexist it is called today, but to share the good news and not be hindered.
The main objection people have to the rejection of coexistence as the world defines it today is love. Aren’t Christian supposed to love one another?
The answer is YES. A million times yes.
We Christians have gotten the reputation of sitting on our high seat and judging from afar. But those people are right. We are called to love. You may be thinking that rejecting coexistence and loving cannot work together. The subtle but very important detail here is that we are supposed to love the people not necessarily their beliefs. I think so many times we confuse these two things and focus on proving people wrong and boycotting them instead of loving them. This is where Christianity gets its bad reputation. How much more effective could our evangelism become if only we showed the love and compassion that Jesus Christ showed us ourselves!