Last week, someone posted a message to me on Facebook. I think that it was a misunderstanding, but when I read the message, I went “WHOA! What’s THIS?!” My eyes got real big and I re-read the message from a fellow believer. Someone who loved Jesus just like I do. However, the words I read felt like a slap across my face. And I got mad!
My first thought was: Oh-no-you-did-n’t!
Fast as lightening, I started typing back. My fingers flew over my keyboard as I clicked out a polite, yet sharp rebuttal. My heart felt like she did me wrong and I wanted to show her who was right!
The more I typed, the more I got more riled up. As I paused to read my brilliant response, I felt my spirit stir. I believe that it was the Holy Spirit that whispered, Stop. Delete.
Umm, I’ve got some good stuff here.
I sighed and clicked delete. I sat and stewed in my hurt. Then, I tried to come up with another way around the Spirit’s leading. No dice. So, I bravely engaged in a little rumble with myself. If you’ve read Brene Brown’s Rising Strong, she talks about having the courage to “rumble” with difficult emotions. My rumble revealed that my pride was hurt. Simple as that. I was offended and I wanted to strike back.
The old saying remains the same: Two wrongs don’t make a right. If I would have sent that note, I wouldn’t have sent it the note in love. I would have sent it to prove that I was right.
(And if I proved that I was right, maybe my feelings wouldn’t be so hurt.)
Striking back just strikes another match by the gas can. How many relationships have we blown up over hurt feelings or hurt pride?
So, I had to sit there in my discomfort and let the bad feelings pass. Man, that was hard. Later, I sent a different response, thanking the individual for the comment and suggestion. It was hard, but God is ALWAYS teaching me humility!
The greatest commodity that we have is LOVE. It’s the currency that God requires us to share with the world. The coins of God’s love are kindness, respect and generosity. That’s why the following scripture is so powerful:
If someone says, "I love God" but hates a fellow believer, that person is a liar; for if we don't love the people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see?' -1 John 4:20
The Greek word “hate” in this verse is miseo, which means to detest or love less. Yikes! Love is the one way that we can show the world that we are different. These days, Christians are working so hard to show the world that they are right, but we struggle to love toward each other.
Friends, if we mess this up, we might as cancel weekend services, shut up and go home.
While there’s a lot of things happening in our culture that swing far from God’s intentions, why do we think the world will be attracted to the gospel if we can’t be kind to each other? I know that the recent Target news is shocking, but ask yourself whether or not your posts and comments build a bridge for the gospel or put up barriers? When believers are fighting with each other, unbelievers see it and shake their heads. How can our world believe that God’s love can transform them if they can’t see the evidence in us?
Practically speaking, how do we do this? Here’s a verse that I’ve been meditating on a lot lately:
"Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry." -James 1:9
Question: Who’s usually quick to speak and slow to listen? (You should know that my hand is in the air…)
I’m not always a great listener and I can be Usain Bolt-fast with a reply. Yet, to love people means that I need to HEAR their words and hear their heart. How about you? How does this verse challenge you today?
So a quick temperature check for all of us:
Is there another believer that you need to forgive?
Is there another believer that you need to call and apologize to for something you’ve said?
Is there another believer that you need to reach out and help because he or she needs it?
How can you love others better today?