“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.” Romans 12: 9,10
Anyone can point out the negatives in the lives of others. Often those of us who are quick to point out the flaws of others, those of us most critical of those around us, are blind to the sins in ourselves. Some of us think that Christ has called us to criticism of anything and everything. We’re quick to speak and slow to listen–we’re unleashing weapons of mass destruction from our mouths. That’s foolish or as Proverbs would say, unwise. Sinful and destructive. That’s what it is. I once read or heard that sarcasm is really veiled anger.
But what about all the crazy things in the world going on around us and in our families? Are we not to speak out against them? Yes we are. We are to speak in a loving way but not condemn people. More importantly we are to overcome evil with good. People around us need to know that our love for God and our actions go farther than our lipservice. Like the Apostle Paul said, if we have all wisdom and can fathom all mysteries yet have not love…we are clanging, annoying, cymbals.
We are practiced in criticism. What we really need to be is practiced in loving. Let us practice in clinging to the good of those around us. Yes we hate what is evil. But we are to love our enemies. Let us practice considering one another above ourselves. Let us sincerely love–people can tell when it is inauthentic.
Let us ask God for these graces, the graces of putting others above ourselves, of being draped with humility, of loving. Let us start with those closest to us. Then people will say and know that we are like Jesus. His love and power will exude from us.
May we be sons and daughters of encouragement like Barnabas was.