It’s amazing how people can get defensive about their chili. I grew up in Indiana where spaghetti noodles are often found in the chili. (Skyline Chili in Cincinnati, Ohio is known for their noodle filled chili.) When I tell people about the chili I grew up with, I’ve been told that isn’t the way to make chili. “Chili can’t have noodles”. Some people get upset when there are beans in a chili. Other folks get upset when beans are left out of a chili. Some people believe chili should be hot and spicy. Others don’t want anything to do with spicy chili. Some people use hamburger meat or steak in their chili. Some people prefer chicken or even turkey in their chili. Regardless of how you enjoy your chili, chances are you like it how you like it and don’t want anyone messing with it!
People have opinions on an abundance of issues, including chili. We live in a day and age where opinions are everywhere. You can find them covering social media. Opinions on politics, clothing, food, pop culture and even the church are rampant on your favorite social media platform. Everyone seems to have an opinion about everything. Unfortunately, if you disagree with another’s opinion, it often leads to conflict with harsh and cruel words being spoken or written, with the result that you are “wrong” and need to be corrected. In our society, we have forgotten how to “agree to disagree”. We have forgotten that opinions are simply that, opinions. They aren’t laws or regulations. They aren’t enforceable by any authority. They are opinions and everyone is entitled to theirs.
As Christians, we must remember that everyone has a right to their opinion. People are going to disagree with us. Some are going to disagree with our beliefs. Some may even mock and ridicule us. They may call us “naïve”, “uninformed”, “ignorant” or “close-minded”. We can’t control how other people live their lives and how they respond to us. We can control how we live our lives and how we respond to others. The greatest witness to your faith isn’t your opinion or beliefs regarding Christ and His church. The greatest witness is how you love and serve your neighbor as you love Christ and His church. When others share an opinion that we disagree with, we can react with respect and kindness even when we disagree. We can seek to understand their perspective. We may not come to agreement, but we must respect each person’s right to have an opinion and a view or perspective on any subject.
In a world of strife, conflict and endless arguments, it’s our role as Christians to return peace and civility to a society who desperately needs them. As Christians, let us model respect, patience and kindness towards those who disagree with us and with those with whom we disagree. In doing so, we may build a bridge and create further opportunities to share our views, share the Gospel and share Christ with those who need to know Him.
If you are in the mood for some great chili, join us this evening at the Parker’s for our annual chili supper. You will find chilis of all kinds. (You might even find some noodles!) We hope you will join us!