Lighten up and love

Public debate in this country has so disintegrated that one can no longer call it debate at all. The communication of ideas through normal conversation has degenerated into a name-calling, shouting match that makes the sharing of differing points of view impossible. Throw pride and control issues into the mix, which are being manipulated by demonic forces, and we all suffer from the results.

This relationship breakdown should not be a total surprise in regard to the secular world but it should not happen in the Body of Christ.

We are the Body of Christ. We who name the Name of Jesus, who trust in Him as our only Lord and Savior are the Body of Christ. As the Body of Christ we are to live on a higher plane than the unbelieving world. We must not see ourselves as better than unbelievers, but we are to love better than they love.

Paul described what we, the Church, the Body of Christ, are supposed to be about in this life …

Till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying [building up] of itself in love.        Ephesians 4.13-16

The Word of God is truth. The Word of God is unchangeable truth, therefore, everything, all of life, is subordinate to God’s Word. All actions, speech and even thoughts are under the authority of this Word of Truth.

We all have different opinions about things. Sometimes we have different opinions because we see things differently or remember things differently. But opinion will never rise to the transcendent level of the very Word of God. Opinion must always bow in submission to the Bible and the greatest law in the Bible is the law of love.

Paul writes that we must speak the truth in love. The truth he refers to is the truth revealed in the Word of God. It is imperative that we speak God’s truth to a dying world and it is just as important that we say it, unwaveringly, in love.

Don’t think your opinion of what someone said, didn’t say, should have said, did, didn’t do, should have done, should have done differently is all that important. It’s often not important at all.

We need to lighten up with each other. I wonder how much of the public debate in the nation is simply a reflection of our love for each other … or the lack of it.

We can change the world but it must begin at home, with us.

James wrote, “So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath” (James 1.19).

I interpret the verse this way: “Fellow Christians, for whom I have much love, you need to keep silent unless it’s absolutely necessary for you to speak from wisdom and love; and rarely, rarely should a Christian get angry with another unless it is Bible-based, godly, righteous, sanctified anger.”

This is basic, elementary Christianity.

Before you speak, ask yourself:

1. Have I really listened to the other person? Do I understand the circumstances?

If there are two fairly equal sides to an issue and the issue is not covered by the Word of God, demonstrate your love and give in – that’s right, overcome that pride, stop trying to guard your territory and give in. (See Philippians 2.3)

2. What lasting good will it accomplish if I say anything?

3. Am I just “letting off steam” – just releasing pent-up anger?

4. What are my motives? Are they really pure?

5. Am I speaking from godly wisdom or simply from emotion?

6. Am I building up or causing harm?

7. Do I recognize that my lack of demonstrated love is a greater sin than their supposed transgression?

If Christians were as passionate about loving others and confronting obvious sin as they were to simply getting their opinions heard, the Christian Church would be a terrible and wonderful force to contend with. Without love we simply become a whiny voice to be ignored.

Love God first and, then, love the people He brought into your life – they are not there by accident.

Love God by submitting your will to Him, repenting of sinful pride, then love people by encouraging them, building them up in the Christian faith, being a servant to them and not a lord over them.

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