“If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar, for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.”
-1 John 4:20
It’s happened to me. It’s probably happened to you.
Something is said on social media. Somebody comments back. Soon a family is in turmoil and relationships are lost over what began as a difference of opinion.
Today it feels like everybody’s talking and nobody’s listening. Judging by what we read and hear, winning an argument has become more important than preserving a relationship. No one appears to care anymore if we trample others in the rush to validation.
Somewhere along the way, “I” became more important than “us.” In the process, the battle became more important than the war.
Sometimes the loudest, most vehement self-mutilation happens to the body of Christ. And yes, it’s self-mutilation, because when we hurt another Christian, we hurt ourselves.
In the backwash of a bitter election year, there is more than politics at stake. As our battered nation limps into the holidays, family members and friends who supported bitter rivals in the recent Presidential election will sit down across from each other at the dinner table. How will we treat each other? If our political leanings have poisoned us to the point we can’t have civil conversation with others, something is very wrong in our country, in our churches, and in our lives.
It is one thing to stand for truth as revealed through God’s Word.
It is quite another to rip each other to shreds over doctrinal or political differences. We can never convert people to the truth after we have destroyed them.
When you run into someone in the grocery store you can’t stand on Facebook, you have the perfect moment to exercise grace. When you are seated across from her or him at the holiday table, remember to smile. You can afford to be generous, after all, because you have both been bought with heaven’s best.
Forgive. Forget. Be as kind to others as Jesus is to you.
Love your enemies, even when they’re your family, and especially when they’re your brothers and sisters in Christ.
We need each other.
Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God.
– Romans 15:7