Wednesday, 14 August 2019
Let's Agree To Disagree
I never quite understood what this phrase meant. Does it mean that if I think something is red and you think it is blue, then we agree that neither of us is right? Surely if the choice is binary, between two alternatives, then one of us is right and the other not.
History is full of examples of people not agreeing on something. Nations have often disagreed on various issues and at times the disagreements were such that they led to wars and much suffering and death. They did not say, "let us agree to disagree", when the subject matter was of such importance that it had to be resolved one way or another. It could not be left unresolved ... for ever.
I am sure all of us in our personal lives can recall instances when we had to decide one way or another, to be on one side or another, on an important matter which at the time challenged a hard-held principle or belief.
I half-heard this sentence, "let us agree to disagree", on the radio the other day as I was reading the Bible. And it set me thinking ...
Did Jesus at any time say to His disciples, His followers or listeners, "let us agree to disagree"?
I could not find an example. Perhaps you can. Write me about it if you do.
This train of thought led me to the Gospel of St John Chapter 6 where Jesus says He is "the Bread of life" and later when He says that unless people eat His flesh or drink His blood they will not have life.
As you can imagine, this was very confusing to His listeners; even His followers and disciples.
"What is He on about?" they asked. "How can we eat His flesh and drink His blood? This is cannibalism surely. This is too much for us. We don't want to follow this guy any longer!"
They got up and left. So what did Jesus do?
He didn't say "Hey ... wait a minute. You didn't understand what I meant. This is what I really meant to say ... let me explain!"
After He explained it a second time, He did not say, "All right then ... let us agree to disagree!"
No ... Jesus let them go. He didn't try to justify Himself or what He had just said. It was as if He dissolved the unspoken contract between them. They could not accept a certain clause so He let them go.
Then He turned to His disciples and asked, "How about you? Do you want to go as well?"
As ever, Peter was first to answer, "To whom shall we go?" he asked. "We're in this for the duration, all the way, to the end". Or words to that effect, signifying that he trusted Jesus without question; albeit no doubt he had many questions in his mind. Peter accepted Christ's words without question and stepped out in blind Faith and dared to believe.
This particular Chapter in the Bible has been the cause of much debates, and arguments, amongst Christians for centuries. No doubt it will continue to be so.
The reality is, in my view, we will never understand what Christ meant by these words. Not until we meet Him face to face that is.
But God never asked us to understand Him. Only to trust Him and believe.
That's what Faith is.