But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger….
– James 1:19
A well-known Bible scholar recently posted some interesting news relating to current events on social media.
The comment section was instantly bombarded with heated arguments. People who claimed to be Christians traded harsh and ignorant barbs. They posted replies so quickly that they could not have possibly taken the time to listen to each other before blasting off a retort.
It was very disturbing. I stopped reading the thread after a few minutes, grieved that those who claim to be called by the name of Christ could be so rude to each other.
But then, I’m rude to others, too. I also offend the glorious trifecta of grace and turn it inside out.
This is the human condition. Not only are we not quick to hear others, we’re reluctant to listen, eager to break in with our own opinions, and instantly indignant when wronged.
When did this behavior become okay? When did we exchange the mantle of an ambassador for the assassin’s sword?
When did it become more important to represent ourselves than our Lord?
We want to reach others for Christ. We want people to turn to the Savior. We have conferences, meetings, and prayer groups to find ways to reach the lost. But the most powerful message we can sent to others is by loving our sisters and brothers. Deeply, unconditionally. Without reserve.
That’s a message no one can miss. By it’s very nature, it reveals a source beyond the natural human ability. None of us can love that deeply. When we claim to love God and treat each other with distain, our words are made hollow by our actions.
But when we love the unlovable, speak only those words God gives us to lift others up and glorify God, others take note. It points to divine inspiration, a God-breathed strength of spirit. It witnesses to the reality and power of the Lord.
This is a serious issue with God, so much so that He issued a commandment to love one another.
Not a suggestion, nor a request, but a command.
Love God’s people. Practice the trifecta of grace.
I am giving you a new commandment, that you love one another; just as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all people will know that you are My disciples: if you have love for one another.”
– John 13:34-35