Recently I witnessed Christians talking about some other church members and putting them down behind their backs. Now, I won't take on a piousness or holier than thou attitude and say I have never done this. But, I'm worried when we do this kind of thing that non-Christians might overhear and decide they want nothing to do with Christianity if it means we act like this.
James 3:9-10 says "With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God's likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be."
This verse always gives me pause. The writer of James is right. I shouldn't speak against my fellow Christians and then use the same mouth to praise God. This is hypocrisy.
We are called to look and act differently than the world. We are called to be holy. That means separate, set apart.
John exhorts us to love one another with that love that comes from God. This kind of love is different than the love we see portrayed on the movie screen or on our TV. God's love is a perfect love. It was such a perfect and unconditional love that He gave up His Son, proving it.
We are called to love one another in this manner, being willing to lay our life down. This doesn't always mean giving up our lives as in being killed like Jesus. This might mean laying down our agenda. It could mean laying down our opinion. It might mean jumping in and helping instead of criticizing how another does something. It could mean standing up for someone when he or she is being talked about behind his or her back.
This type of love for our fellow Christians can be hard to do. But this is our calling from God. We are to show God's love. We often think this command is for the world - we are to love people so we can love them to God. But, much is said in God's Word about loving those who are our brothers and sisters in Christ. He must have known we were going to struggle with this.
In a day like now in which we see so much hate, Christians must show the love of the Father which He has granted and put inside of us. How much more so should we love and cherish those Christian brothers and sisters who are on this journey with us?
Let's look and act differently. Let's show love to each other and it will easily flow to those others outside the family of God.
Our church should feel like a safe place where we can learn and grow together without fear of ridicule and being talked about in a bad light. We should sense God's love flowing through us and to us.
"They will know we are Christians by our love." Do we give evidence?