CHRISTIAN VIEWPOINT: Empathise with and understand other people

IT’S a New Year and resolutions for change abound. But do we want change?

We often fear change, which takes us out of our comfort zones and demands much of us.

As Ecumenical Officer to Churches Together in Cumbria for nine years, I found it the most challenging and fulfilling time of my life as I was introduced to and had to cope with ways of thinking and ‘doing’ other than my own as an ‘evangelical, charismatic’ Baptist minister.

I hope I grew in knowledge and was changed in attitude in the engagement.

Having recently returned to ecumenical networking I have noticed how liberating it is to meet with people who acknowledge their differences, are secure in their own identity, prepared to challenge the world to change and be changed personally as the journey is undertaken together.

Sadly many choose to stay behind barricades of dogma and purity of chosen doctrines, which isolate from the freedom which is offered through faith in Christ.

To many in society, such entrenchment may be a block to personal faith.

How might this change, if indeed we want it to?

The apostle Paul wrote of ‘becoming all things to all people’.

This was not for Paul compromising personal faith, practice or integrity.

Rather he sought to empathise with and understand others who were different.

The week of prayer for Christian unity this month provides opportunity for Christians to begin to do just that…. we would be in good company!

 

Andrew Dodd

Baptist Minister Hawkshead Hill

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