This week here in the US, we’ve had another mass school shooting 🙁 This time in Parkland, Florida. The tragedy as awful and terrible as it was, is also dividing Christian against Christian in this blogger’s viewpoint. I have over 700 friends on Facebook and well over half are Christians. Half of those are posting things promoting the need (insistance actually) for gun control. The other half are staunchly opposed to gun control insisting that if you outlaw guns only outlaws will have guns and thus there will be no way to protect themselves and their families as well as concerns for too much government control.
In addition, for me, there is a huge concern that our response to this is a tool for dividing the body of Christ. It’s good to have strong beliefs and to know why you believe what you believe, but in the midst of that, it’s imperative that we as believers disagree agreeably. To have discussions is a good thing, but when you start feeling irate towards other believers for not viewing an issue the same way you do and expressing that anger at them is a HUGE problem for any believer. The rest of the world is watching us and when they see us tearing into each other, they ask themselves why they should give our faith any consideration. It’s a very bad testimony and shines a very bad light on our Savior, Jesus Christ. This must grieve Him terribly 🙁 The death and carnage is terribly terribly sad and outrageous. That’s a given. I just want to encourage you, my readers (and myself) to be very careful how we react to it and to remember to be loving in the midst of our outrage and remember to reflect that love to the world and each other. Don’t let the enemy use you as a tool in his arsenal!
This struck home for me this week after being accused by a Christian “Facebook Friend” of having no compassion about what occurred in Florida because she strongly disagreed with my stand on gun control. She did it in a very unloving way (in my opinion) in more than one response. I felt my flesh rise up and I was really angry that she could say such a thing not knowing me on the other side of the screen. My heart breaks for all those killed, injurred, and traumatized.
However, I felt a little catch in my spirit that was clearly the Holy Spirit reminding me that the way I respond to her is a testimony to all those on Facebook who read our exchange and to be careful how I respond. It went completely against my flesh (the old nature) but I decided to try to disagee agreeably. How I respond could reflect the love of Jesus or the hate of the world and the decision was mine to make. I knew I needed to react selfLESSly. Self was very angry and put off, so caution was to be considered.
“Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” –1 John 3:18
Bible.org explains it well in reference to 1 Corinthians 13, “The love chapter”:
“In verses 1-3 he shows the preeminence of love, that love is greater than all spiritual gifts because without love, gifts are empty. In verses 4-7 he shows the practice of love, how love is greater than all spiritual gifts because of its selfless characteristics. In verses 8-13 he shows the permanence of love, that love is greater than all spiritual gifts because it outlasts them. We’re going to focus mainly on verses 4-7, where Paul describes how love acts. While in English most of these words are predicate adjectives, in Greek they are verbs. Love is not talk; it is action.”
“Paul enumerates 15 characteristics of love to show how love acts or what it looks like in everyday life. A New Testament definition of agape is “a caring, self-sacrificing commitment which shows itself in seeking the highest good of the one loved.” Jesus Christ, in His sacrificial death on the cross, is the epitome and embodiment of this kind of love. A whole series of sermons could easily be preached on these qualities of love. But let’s look briefly at each of them.”
“Selfless love is PATIENT…The Greek word comes from two words meaning, “long-tempered.” If you’re patient, you’re slow to anger, you endure personal wrongs without retaliating. You bear with others’ imperfections, faults, and differences. You give them time to change, room to make mistakes without coming down hard on them.”
I’d just like to remind us all that the world will know we are Christians by our LOVE.