Sunday, September 22, 2019

Yoked Together

The warning from Paul to be "not unequally yoked together with unbelievers" has been interpreted in a number of ways. Some have taken it to mean that we should not associate with or enter relationships with those who do not share our beliefs. But I don't think Paul's words are of a spirit of separatism. After all, his and our Lord associated with those considered to be the dross of the world and commanded that we do as we saw Him do. Paul warns against adopting incorrect traditions and practices from others, but I think there is another, deeper but no less important meaning to the caution against being "unequally yoked together." When we associate with others, we should not assume a superior or adversarial position to one another. To do so is akin to trying to pull each other in opposite directions: it wastes a lot of energy without accomplishing much (other than making ourselves feel exhausted and irritated). Rather, we should try to pull together. After all, there is much we can learn from one another, even when we disagree on important matters.
There may be times when our efforts to pull together do not yield productive results. At such times it may be the right thing to simply leave the yoke rather than to continue in contention and strife. But there's nearly always some common good that we can put our collective efforts behind. When we focus on doing that, we'll find that we strengthen one another and accomplish much good together, especially when the yoke that we share is the one given to us by the Savior (Matthew 11:29-30).

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