When Jesus taught His followers to love their enemies, it was controversial to say the least. But when He taught them to love one another in such an extravagant way that others would look at them and say “WOW” everyone thought that it was a no brainer.
Sadly, that’s not the case. The way we Christians love one another nowadays is actually quite embarrassing. We love each other when we agree, we love each other when we see eye to eye, we love each other as long as we all come to the same conclusion on the issues.
This is just speaking from personal experience but the minute one Christian says something different than his or her friends and family, that Christian will become the subject of mockery and scorn, they’ll find others posting things on social media subtly making fun of what they believe and why. Sometimes it goes from subtle to passive aggressive! Coming right out and calling them stupid for the whole world to see instead of just talking about the issue face to face in a kind and understanding way.
Please hear me on this, Christians can see things differently and that’s okay, we don’t all have to agree on everything. We should however, agree to treat each other with love and respect and try really hard to show others that we treat our brothers and sisters in Christ with that extraordinary love that Jesus talks about, even if we don’t see eye to eye.
There are some things that as long as we call ourselves Christians that have no wiggle room, we must believe in God the Father, God the Son in Jesus Christ and God the Holy Spirit. We must believe that Jesus came and paid for our sins by dying on the cross, He was buried and rose again defeating death once and for all. We must believe in Jesus Christ for our salvation.
Whether or not you believe in a young earth or old earth doesn’t really matter that much.
What you believe the end times will look like doesn’t matter as much as the fact that the end is coming.
What you believe when it comes to eating certain meats, or drinking alcohol, or taking the Sabbath on the Sabbath (which is Saturday by the way) is not nearly as important as the open, non judgmental discussion that should be had by opening the Scriptures and allowing each person to draw a conclusion through prayer and reading that they come to. Not anyone else’s conclusion, but their own.
There are a lot of things we can debate about amongst Christian circles and a healthy, friendly debate is good. But please, if you find someone that disagrees with you on one of the lesser things, don’t chastise them. They got there by talking to God, reading their Bibles, and taking advice from people they trust. They don’t need to be mocked just because you feel differently.
In the case where you find another Jesus follower saying and doing things that go against what Jesus taught, don’t call them out in church, or in front of a bunch of people, and especially not on Facebook. Pray about it, pray for them and for yourself and then gently approach them with scripture already researched and kindly and as gently as possible talk with them (not to them) about what you think is going on and do everything you can to restore them, and lift them up. Don’t assume you know the whole story, or judge based on what you saw. Allow them to tell there side of the story, respect their circumstances and see if you are just looking at it from different perspectives.
If it comes out that they are indeed in direct contradiction to what the Bible teaches and they are unrepentant about it, you may need to back off before it goes beyond your area of expertise. Kindly excuse yourself and go to God about it, go to your pastor about it but whatever you do, do not judge, condemn or otherwise convict them of anything, that’s not your job. You pray, pray and then pray some more.
Unfortunately I have stories that hit very close to home when it comes the topic of Christians not loving one another. I myself am guilty of it. All I’m trying to say is that I do not know everything, you do not know everything, nobody does. That’s why we submit ourselves to the One who does, Jesus.
Only Jesus has the power to condemn and we should do everything in our power to prevent others from doing things that will lead to condemnation. Not by thumping them on the head with the Bible, not by teasing them on Facebook for believing differently than us, not because we’re just smarter than them. But by always going back to what Jesus said about how we Christians should be loving each other.
One quick story and then I’m done, I have two sons – six year old Austin and four year old Jaxon. They spend a lot of time together and these days much of that time is spent fighting. They can’t agree on anything, when one wants to play MarioKart the other doesn’t and then the other way around. They kick, hit, poke and tease each other.
Kids are still learning how to love one another in a way that isn’t so painful. But you know what they do way better than us grown up Christians? At the end of the day, they let bygones be bygones and they literally don’t think about it again. I don’t know about your kids but when the sun goes down my boys love each other and they forgive and forget in a way that I wish I could. At the end of the day, after all the tears and fights and tattle taling my boys forget about their differences and it looks something like this…
Whatever it is for you that you think you’re right on, remember that the Pharisees were absolutely certain that they were right too. Always go to what Jesus said about love, and always remember that the things that matter – Jesus’ life, death, burial and resurrection is what gives us life, not our opinions.