Love one another. It sounds simple, right? But it's not.
It seems Christians love to have a go at one another. Not love one another.
Every day believers write tweets, blog posts, and emails containing either blatant or subtle criticism, and defamation, of other Christians.
Sorry folks. It has to stop.
Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples (John 13:35).
Words of Jesus. Plain truth. It's high time we listened.
The Right to be Right
Secular practice teaches the right to be right. More than a right to expression, or the right to be heard, the right to be right imposes opinions which condemn and degrade opposing views.
You may be right. God may be on your side. But there is no need to publicly criticize a brother or sister.
The Holy Spirit changes hearts. Not through disapproval or judgement, but through a greater revelation of Christ. And he is actually pretty good at his job. Yet we feel the need to intervene and help the Spirit along. Instead we are a hindrance.
“But Jesus criticized the Pharisees.”
Yes, the religious leaders of the day were scrutinized by Jesus. He used very strong language to rebuke their actions and attitudes. Their crime? Self-righteousness. Pharisees believed themselves better than others. They took to belittling people and placing barriers and obstacles along the path to God.
Christ told many a parable highlighting the evil of self-righteousness. This most deceptive sin remains today, because criticizing others is self-righteous. Self-righteousness never results in salvation. It imposes a works mentality which, to be frank, is heresy.
Are Christians Allowed an Opinion?
Of course. Christians do not switch off their brains upon coming to Christ. You are allowed to think what you like and express your feelings.
But here's the catch. Jesus only spoke words of his Father (John 14:10). Jesus had opinions, but he never spoke his opinion. He spoke the words of Father. He gave God's opinion.
Jesus is our Example
Prominent leaders may condemn and give their opinion liberally. You may believe you have the right to do the same. As a follower of Christ you mirror him in speech and action.
God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him (John 3:17).
Salvation was Christ's mandate. Not judgement. We are not called to judge the world, let alone our fellow believers.
Let's Agree to Disagree
You will not agree with every Christian on the planet. There would be few people who agree with you one hundred percent. My guess is none.
Christians, we are family. Brothers and sisters in Christ. Abraham is our father. The body of Christ. We need each other. Let's get over our disagreements and demonstrate grace.
How wonderful and pleasant it is when brothers live together in harmony! (Psalm 133:1)
I love to sit and watch my children play. It does my soul good. I love to hear giggles and chatter as they interact. So beautiful. Sure they have small arguments every once in a while, but within minutes all is forgotten and they are romping happily again.
Father loves it when his children get along. We may not agree on everything, but with Jesus at the center, we have common ground.
Refuse to come to the party of a critical spirit. Let's follow the command to love one another, and allow the Holy Spirit to change hearts. Then the world will see we love despite differences.
I'm Sarah Coleman, an Aussie passionate about Jesus & family. Through blogs and books I minister life and encouragement. Download my FREE eBook, Be Amazing: You Know You Want To. Find more of my thoughts at sarahcoleman.com.au.
Publication date: September 23, 2014