Have you ever been really angry? Righteously angry? Frustrated-ly angry? Rip-snorting angry? Was it the result of an offense committed against you?
Stop for a moment and think back on how that anger made you feel? Were you justified, at peace, renewed, refreshed or satisfied?
More and more, on Facebook, social media and even in friendly circles, people (yes, even Christians) seem to be compelled to express their anger/frustration/disappointment in others with unedited frequency. Often the reproach is prefaced with, “I don’t mean to judge…” or “He had no right…” or “They should know they were wrong and it’s my job to tell them…”
I write those words with some trepidation as, undoubtedly, there will be someone who feels that I am judging them. It is such a slippery slope.
Recently, I found myself in a situation where I seriously began to question the Lord’s perspective on how it was unfolding. Assumptions, pride, hyper-sensitivity, frustration and attitude all play such a huge part in how we act and react.
If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.
At the same time, Scripture is very clear that should we find our brother/sister in sin, we are responsible to go (don’t do this online!) to them (in love) and address it with them.
Matthew 18:15-17 (Amplified)
If your brother wrongs you, go and show him his fault, between you and him privately. If he listens to you, you have won back your brother. But if he does not listen, take along with you one or two others, so that every word may be confirmed and upheld by the testimony of two or three witnesses. If he pays no attention to them [refusing to listen and obey], tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a pagan and a tax collector.
Some versions of Scripture translate “wrongs you” as “sins against you”.
The Online Dictionary defines sin as:
a transgression of a religious or moral law, especially when deliberate
deliberate disobedience to the known will of God-breathed
condition of estrangement from God resulting from such disobedience
something regarded as being shameful, deplorable or utterly wrong
I know a person who wears a lapel pin that reads, “Prime Minister (insert name) HATES me.” In fact, the Prime Minister doesn’t even know this person. They have assigned their prejudices to the Prime Minister and assumed that since he doesn’t behave as they expect him to he must hate them. The Prime Minister may have many faults (I think we all do) but none of those would be the sin of hating this individual.
Assuming spite, malice or ill intent whenever there is disagreement or misunderstanding leads us to a place where we are regularly passing judgment on someone else’s intent.
Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your bother’s eye and pay no attention to be plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, “Let me take the speck out of your eye” when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
Brothers and sisters, is it possible that in this society of ‘my way’, ‘my rights’ and ‘my feelings’ that we may be missing the example of our Lord when He not only turned the other cheek (Matthew 5:38-40) but He also opened not His mouth (Isaiah 53:7)?
1 Chronicles 28:9
For the LORD searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts.
For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
I encourage each and every one of us, the next time we feel we need to correct, condemn, criticize or judge, that we first consider our own motives and then in prayer, purpose to be peacemakers.
Psalm 34:14 (ESV)
Turn away from evil and do good: seek peace and pursue it.
Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the sons of God.
May God richly bless you in this very difficult but absolutely necessary aspect of your (and my) Christian growth.
Beloved, let us love one another.
For love is of God and everyone that loveth is born of God
and knoweth God.
He that loveth not, knoweth not God.
For God is love.
Beloved, let us love one another.
1st John 4:7 and 8.