I read a post this morning from Charlie Pharis, which was about a post from Randy Bohlender (too much blogging, I know!) that got me thinking. It was about the idea that our faith shouldn't make it harder for us to connect w/ people that we don't agree with, but easier because our faith allows us to see them the way God sees them - as a child of His. I actually feel kind of stupid that I've never thought of it this way before now. I mean, how completely obvious that b/c of what I believe I should be able to connect with absolutely everyone - simply because I care for them and don't judge them. It makes sense. The biggest relationship barriers all seem to stem from someone not accepting or forgiving someone else because they are not the ideal person according to whatever standard society is using at the time.
Here's what Randy writes:
Despite the fact that I suspect I disagree with them on most issues of major importance in my life, I find Larry, Marian, Andie (and prior BM whizGirl, Jess the Nurse) to be more than interesting. They are wonderful. My religious beliefs serve as a bridge, not a wall. As I told Marian today "My faith enables me to see you as who you are - a child of God...a God who is intensely interested in you. My faith compells me to love you."
There is so much to be learned from this statement. When we can start seeing our faith as a bridge that connects us to others instead of a wall that separates us from them, we can be free to share that connection with them in a way that draws them to Christ instead of pushing them away. We need to be focused on connecting with God's people - not judging them and on loving them, not ignoring them!