Do I have a case here? Yes I do! Through out my years in the ministry I have witnessed and observed there are far too many so-called Christians who often “persecute” those whom they also called Christian brothers and sisters in the name of “admonishing”, “rebuking”, “teaching” and “training” in righteousness.
We forgot that behind all these verbs is one important element – LOVE!
Love includes grace that forgives and accepts one another including the rights and the wrongs. But far too many Christians cannot see this truth and being bound in their actions and reactions, causing many to turn away from God and His abundant GRACE.
What am I speaking here? In some plain words it means, Christians are trying to hold other Christians down in the name of righteousness and performing the art of judging and pronouncing judgment into one another’s life through a series of backbiting, wrong reports or false reports (all based on pre-conceptual feelings and ideas). They make whatever reports that they are presenting “look” spiritual by attaching remarks like “I am telling you what God is telling me.” “I heard another Christian told me this.” “I don’t really mean that he/she is that bad. After all there’s always some good in a person, isn't it?”
Such qualifying remarks make them look real good and the other person under serious scrutiny that brings the listener into serious thoughts as to how this person should be evaluated. How profoundly these statements are being used in the church settings today!
A brother was leaving the church and when an ex member of the same church (left church due to misunderstanding with the pastor) met in the shopping mall, she immediately asked if the brother left because of the pastor. This brother who has left the church because he was sent to work elsewhere by the company looked confused and disillusioned because he did not know why his leaving has to do with the pastor.
But because of preconceived idea that this sister has, anyone who leaves the church will be the pastor’s fault.
Talks began to fly in other members of the church and ex member saying that it was because of the present pastor therefore “many” people are leaving the church. In no time the pastor is given the verdict that he is the main problem that caused the church to split into its present state.
But when you walk into the church, such situation was not found and such statement was not called forth. You would be wondering what has happened but people prefer to listen to juicy negative views than to pray for correct representation of the real situation.
So am I speaking Greek here or you actually know what I am talking about. May I appeal to you as a believer who loves God and who loves God’s people, “Stop treating one another meanly.” Paul understood such concept perfectly. In his epistles (letters) to the churches, he often emphasized phrases like, “carrying ONE ANOTHER’s burden”; “lift up ONE ANOTHER”; “Speak to ONE ANOTHER in psalms and hymns; “love ONE ANOTHER.”
These are familiar verses that we often quote in the church and indeed it’s what we are supposed to be. I went to a church to preach. It is a Chinese speaking church. The moment I entered the church, I was attracted with lots of phrases pasted on the wall in the hall. It read as, “speak in love,” “encourage one another,” “comfort someone,” “stretch out your hand in love,” etc.
I was very impressed by those small slips of paper all over the church, reminding her members to do likewise to one another. My heart was warmed and I smiled.
How many of us actually need to remind ourselves constantly of loving one another instead of “killing me softly with his words…” as one song goes.
A professor of mine in expository preaching said this, “Expository preaching needs to be taken seriously in churches today. Preachers need to take their preparation in the sermon seriously and take time to study the word. But,” he continued, “the most important thing after the sermon is prepared, is not how well your presentation is going to be (though it is important) but rather if the congregation is UNITED enough as ONE to receive the word in their hearts.”
In other words, is the congregation ready as a platform for the word of God to take effect in the lives of the believer that ultimately will deepen their relationship with God. Because otherwise, all the preparation of the Word of God could not find the platform to preach.
Are you ready to contribute to this platform in the church? Then, start loving one another genuinely!