They will know Him by our love for one another…
Religious freedom gives us the right to worship as we choose. And I am so thankful to have religious freedom in this country! But what happens when we all disagree on how (or who) to worship? Nothing demonstrates the vast array of religious beliefs in this country like the comment section of an online news article…especially when it is dealing with a religious issue. Sadly, it’s usually a lot of bickering and complaining. It’s interesting how we feel the freedom to slander one another when we’re not face-to-face.
I have to be honest, there have been numerous times where I have genuinely been embarrassed by some of the comments self-proclaimed Christians chose to leave for others. Aren’t we supposed to be the ones who demonstrate Christ’s love?
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Jesus once said:
“By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” – John 13:35
According to Jesus, it is our love for one another that proves our love for Him.
The Bible refers to itself as a sword. It is a very powerful weapon, and we are called to use it when fighting against the enemy (Ephesians 6:10-17). However, many of us misuse this weapon against each other. We are tearing each other down instead of building each other up.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 tells us that God’s Word teaches us the difference between right and wrong, and we can trust it to be useful in preparing and equipping believers “to do every good work.”
Are we really doing “every good work” when we misuse the Word of God to win an argument?
Please hear me out. There is certainly a time and place for sound teaching and correction. The Bible is clear that God’s Word shows us what needs to be corrected in our lives so that we can grow and mature in Christ.
I have personally found this to be true in my own life. The Bible is very convicting, and conviction brings about change. Condemnation, however, causes us to become defensive. The difference is in how the truth is presented. God’s truth needs to be spoken in love.
Harsh words cause us to put up walls in defense, but love has the power to tear these walls down.
As Christians, we need to understand the fine line between standing up for our faith, and misusing the Word of God to simply make a point. It truly is a fine line.
I completely understand feeling the need to stand up for ourselves. I can’t tell you how many times I personally have had to hold my tongue. When we use God’s Word to argue, however, we are usually adding fuel to the fire. People respond to love, not harsh words. Even if you have good intentions, harsh words will never win a religious argument.
What are your intentions? Do you desire to see the lost come to Christ or do you simply want to be right? I personally have never seen anyone come to Christ in the midst of a religious debate. As believers, we must make the decision to use the Word of God for its intended purpose. It is a weapon against the enemy and a tool that is useful for building us up in Christ.
Remember the message of the cross. Jesus came to save the world, not condemn it (John 3:17). His intention was to rescue us from sin, not rub our noses in it. Yes, Jesus often spoke harshly to Pharisees; but they were the religious leaders of the day and they were leading people away from God’s love. Jesus never spoke that way to unbelievers. He corrected and taught, but He always managed to do so in love.
For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep, we will live together with Him. Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing. – 1 Thessalonians 5:9-11
*Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.