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ajesusandpeterWe all have our own perspectives on things and sometimes there is not only difference in how we see things, but downright opposition to the views of others. I’m always reminded of this when the “Who do people say that I am?” question shows up in the Scriptures. (Today in MK 8.) That’s the easy question though because the answer can include lots of hearsay, e.g. “Elijah or one of the prophets” (reincarnated?) or John the Baptist (more tricky since they lived at the same time). The riskier question comes next when Jesus asks the question that calls for a response of personal conviction: “Who do you say I am?” No one rushes to that answer and Peter seems the only one to finally get up the courage to speak his mind, or more probably, what he knows in his heart: “You are the Christ.”

I had a phone conversation yesterday about the necessity of listening compassionately without judgment to differing opinions on topics of importance. Never has it seemed more difficult or more crucial for us to do so. And the second part of this practice is to speak the truth as it is known to us with a willingness to enter into honest dialogue with those who might disagree.

It might be easier for Christians today than in apostolic times to declare that Jesus is the Christ, but the implications of what that means about how we live our lives differs greatly. Jesus didn’t talk a lot about how to live; his teaching was mainly in his living. If we could just focus on the dictum, “Love one another as I have loved you,” and read Matthew 25 about “the sheep and the goats” once in awhile, we might do our living in a more compassionate manner, listening to others and even disagreeing sometimes but loving one another as God loves us.