We are living in an age where everyone believes they are right. Have you noticed? There is a war of ideas, thoughts and words that makes enemies of friends and separates the closest of friends. Pick any topic and the debate can quickly erode into name-calling and hard feelings. Unfortunately, this is even true in the church.
Here is the question that I have been asking myself, “How can we demonstrate love even in the midst of disagreement?” Is that even possible? I believe that it is. Now, before you call my psychiatrist and book an appointment for me, let me tell you what I mean (I don’t have one, sorry to worry you!). There are very few issues that are so black and white that I need to draw a line in the sand to dare others to cross it.
It seems to me that we who confess the Name of Jesus Christ, have neglected the role of prayer and the Holy Spirit. If I am walking with integrity of character while seeking to glorify God in my relationship with Him and in my relationship with others, I am equipped with what I need to love others the way God has loved me. In the name of openness and honesty, I need to tell you that I have not always thought this way. I was a huge proponent of drawing a line in the sand! And, as a result it cost me at least three ministries that I love very much! Yes, I am a slow learner!
Our model for this type of attitude is the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. He often taught that we are to love our enemies and pray for those who treat us disrespectfully. He was quite the revolutionary to say the least! I have been in church congregational and missionary meetings where the words of Jesus were not the ideal! In fact, they were down right laid aside and forgotten! They were painful meetings to be a part of, very painful!
We must remember to practice the ethic of God’s love, His agape love, His selfless love in the midst of those situations. God is working out His plan in both you and the person or situation you are dealing with. I read recently that we will never be able to say that we are right when we are wrong in the way we express ourselves. There are very few situations that allow me to treat another person with disrespect and not miss the blessing of God in my own life.
In every situation God is working out His plan. It is His plan that we love one another and seek the greatest good in the lives of others. I always want to ask myself in whatever situation that I am in, “How can I best express the love of Jesus in this situation?” Sometimes, that means I need to be quiet and let the Spirit of God do what He does best! I am learning that every person I meet, every meeting I participate in, God’s plan is of greater importance that my own personal agenda!
It is my prayer that you and I learn to express ourselves in such a way that people are left with the aroma of the gospel of Christ, an aroma that is sweet, encouraging and filled with His love!