We’ve all played the game hot potato—where you pass the potato around until it's cool enough that somebody can hold it. You know, oftentimes with issues that are difficult—issues that rock some of our core beliefs—that's what we do: we just keep passing it around till it gets cold enough that it goes away.
There are some current “hot potatoes” facing the Church—both the big universal church, and local churches. What do we do with racism? What does the post-COVID church look like? What's our moral responsibility to the rest of the globe in relation to vaccines? Then there are very practical “hot potatoes” like mask or no mask, vaccine or no vaccine? So, how should we handle these “hot potato” issues?
First, with our ears: listen to what people are saying. Don't jump in quickly and give your opinion. Think about it and pray about it. Remember, Jesus said we would be known by our love, because love never fails. We show love by listening and respecting another perspective. Second, we face it. We face these “hot potatoes” with our eyes. We look to see what the fruit of this particular “hot potato” is. What does it do? Does it drive people apart or bring people together? Is the reason that it drives people apart because we're not listening and not hearing and not digesting what the other person is saying? If so, we may be the problem. So, let your eyes look at the fruit. Let your eyes see what this particular “hot potato” does to the church and to our culture. Third, we should handle a “hot potato” with our hearts. The questions that ought to be front and center to us are, “What is God saying? What is God speaking in my heart? What is it that my heart says about this?” If we listen to our heart language—to what God, through his Holy Spirit, has placed there—we're going to find unity. We may not agree. We may not have the same opinions. We may look at things with a different perspective, but love conquers all and it bubbles out of our hearts. How should you handle a hot potato? Carefully.