Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
I Cor. 13:4-7
Are there forms of unlove in our souls? Sadly, I think I’ve discovered a form of unlove in mine. If we do not think the best of others, if we pigeon-hole them, not allowing them to climb out of those holes we’ve dug and placed them in, that is not love. I must confess that I do not always give the benefit of the doubt to, or think the highest of, some of those in the body or some groups of Christians who are rabidly unloving in their language and legalistic. But (until Jesus seperates the sheeps from the goats) for all intense and purposes, as far as I am concerned, these are my brothers and sisters however much I am tempted to disown them. This is my family. They’re just like me, a mixed bag of virtue and vice (sin). I must love them, especially when I perceive them to be acting like the enemy, working against the kingdom they profess to be a part of. Jesus showed great love for the church of his time, praying “Father forgive them, for they know not what they are doing” even as they nailed him to the cross. It was the religious people that killed Jesus on a Roman cross mind you.
And I must remind myself that these brothers and sisters who turn me off by certain words and behaviors, may be turned off by my way of being. Surely, my sins are evident to mostly all but myself. I have logs galore protruding from my eyes. How is it that I can even see the speck of dust in the eye of another? Remembering these things will guard against spiritual pride. It will guard us against thinking more highly of ourselves then we ought to. I also must remember that sometimes the most loving thing to do is lovingly confront a brother or sister…like Paul confronted Peter. There is a whole lot of unloving confrontation going on though. Or impersonal confrontation.
At the same time, let me say there are sins in the church that are clearly wrong. Racism, spoiling our environment, superficiality, idolatry, immorality, arrogance, and pride. We can speak out lovingly against these things. There is more, Christians have even murdered other Christians (most recently in Rwanda). So perhaps we can take a stand when the body is acting as the anti-Christ.
Maybe what I am saying applies between individuals. Perhaps a reader has clarification or some more insight. Feel free to share. All I know is that scripture tells us to love each other, our brothers and sisters, from our hearts. If we do not even love our brothers and sisters, how can we love God whom we have not seen? We have to think seriously about what it means to love one another. Then the world will know we are Christians.
1 thought on “A Little Bit More on Loving Our Neighbors”
wow – I am amazed how reflection is so in line with my reflection for this past Sunday.
Thanks for being honest and on target.