Sometimes my mind gets ahold of something and I just can’t stop thinking about it. I begin to look at it from all different angles mulling it over and over until it reaches the depths of my heart. I usually don’t share my thoughts with just anyone while still in the process of mulling it over. But this time I am feeling led to.
I’ve been bothered by a thought every since a recent sermon. Our pastor reminded us that we are called to love one another as Christ loves us. And by the love I give to my brother's and sisters in Christ my neighbors (and the world) will know I am His disciple. (John 13:34-35) If I love my brothers and sisters in Christ then I will love my neighbor and the world will see I am His disciple.
So my neighbor, co-workers, unsaved family and the world will know I am a Christian by how I love my brothers and sisters in Christ. I don’t know about you but at times that is hard to do. I mean I do love the body of Christ.
But when we have to bring it down to the individual, sometimes it gets a bit harder doesn’t it?
You know the individual Christian I am talking about. The one who seems to grate on your very last nerve. The one who seems to always have a word of criticism to speak. The one who has to do everything bigger and better than everyone else. The one who bullies his/her way through a meeting. The one who takes credit for something you did. The one who _________ (you fill in the blank).
So the question I am asking myself today is this, "Do I really love my brothers and sisters in Christ?" Can the world look at my life and see my love for them? Or are they more apt to see criticism and arguing over petty differences? Are they more apt to see bullies who try to push people around in order to get their own way? Those who are more concerned about their agenda instead of God’s?
I am asking the hard questions of my heart today. Asking God to search my heart for wrong motives and desires when it comes to loving my church community. Am I truly loving them as Christ loves me?
Seems God keeps challenging me with this verse...seriously some days I wish my mind didn't think so much!! "If someone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen." (1 John 4:20) We are a liar if we say that we love God but hate our brother. Brother here means those of the Bride of Christ, the Christian who sits in the pew next to you each Sunday. The Christian, who if you are really honest, you don’t particularly like.
If we aren't showing (that is an action and not just saying it) love to our brothers and sisters in Christ then do we really love them?
Yes, we need to show love to our neighbors, to those we meet on the street, to the unsaved around the world BUT if we are not showing love to those in the body of Christ then what good is it? How will the WORLD know the love of our Savior if we can’t even love one another?
How will the world know Christ if His children can not even treat one another with grace, love, mercy, compassion and kindness?
I’ll even go one step further what good is it if we send our time, money, and resources to brothers and sister in Christ around the world if we can’t even love those within our own body of Christ?
How can we say that we love God and yet treat those within the body so badly?
Father forgive me for the times I treat my brothers and sisters sinfully. Forgive us, Your Church for being so petty and fighting over things that just aren’t pleasing to you. Father help us. We so desperately need Your help, for we are a sinful, and stubborn people. May we humble ourselves before you and offer our hearts, our attitudes and our very life up to you as a sacrifice. Mold us, make us into a church that shines Your light brightly.