Soul competency-Respect, and love for one another
Soul competency. It’s a term I only recently was introduced to… and thoroughly appreciate it. Basically, the concept being acted out is that people have choices, and they will answer for those choices to God, not others. God doesn’t force them, and neither should others. That those who have questions or differences of opinion on religious matters should all be treated with respect. Everyone may present their opinions, in love, but it’s their choice and God’s leading that will bring them to agreement with you… or not. Our place is simply to “speak the truth as [we] see it–in love. And [we] should grant that right to the other…. so long as these differences do not deny the authority of the Scriptures or the lordship of Jesus Christ.” (Baptist Faith and Message, Herschel Hobbs) We should make our choices based on faith, not fear–fear of what others think, what others might do, or what God might do to us if we don’t immediately comply with what we don’t understand but are told is correct.
I’ve appreciated seeing this in action. Hard topics haven’t been avoided, and no question has been side stepped. Rather, questions and beliefs have been thoroughly studied and considered, and always the individual asking questions or holding variant beliefs has been accepted. Why? Because truth with withstand questions. It will continue irregardless of different opinions. And maybe, because people are more willing to change their minds if they aren’t told they must, and won’t be as apt to cut those with different opinions off if they are treated with respect and love. Instead, they may continue to disagree for awhile, but in a safe, accepting, loving environment they may have time to consider better opinions and, with God’s help, realize that there is a better way.