Sunday, February 19, 2017

A MATTER OF FAITH: LOVING UGLY PART 3


This is part 3 of a series on loving others.


I have a short level of tolerance for self-righteous know it all Christians. Their attitude towards those who do not think and believe as they do is condescending and offensive, yet they are our brothers and sisters in Christ and we are required to love them.

The context of my discussion is found in Romans 12:8-21 which has been transcribed below. 

It is important for followers of God’s word to live a life that is consistent; as we love our neighbors and our enemies we should also love other believers, even if they don’t agree with our beliefs. But when they behave in such a manner that discourages other believers or turns non-believers away from the truth it is difficult to like them let alone love them.

It is often said by Christians ‘hate the sin but not the sinner’. Unfortunately there are those who do not think they ever sin, or at least present themselves as such. These individuals are quick to tell others what they should and should not do while ignoring what they do or say that is not pleasing.
MATTHEW 7:3 THE VOICE
Why is it that you see the dust in your brother’s or sister’s eye, but you can’t see what is in your own eye?
There are far to many “perfect” Christians. These individuals fail to see the consequences of their ugly attitudes.

A friend of mine told me how she stopped speaking to another because the individual was forcing an idea upon her. The story was revealed to me when I happened to mention a plant I was trying to grow; it was this same plant that the other woman was forcing upon my friend. The purpose of my conversation was to share with my friend what I was doing.

The forceful nature of the woman turned my friend away from the plant and its’ benefits. By taking care of the dust in my own eye my friend wanted to learn more. That woman, my friends ex-friend, was like a self righteous Christian, she was insisting that her way was the ONLY WAY.  The consequences of this woman’s actions was that my friend rejected valuable information.

In discussing the plant with my friend, who knows a lot about growing plants, I revealed what I was doing. (If you study Scripture, Jesus communicated with people based on what they knew.) She was curious about the plant that she had heard about but not got to know.

When my friend shared with me her negative experience with the fruit of this plant- I DID NOT DISCREDIT HER EXPERIENCES. When my friend said she terminated the relationship with her friend - I DID NOT TELL HER SHE NEEDED TO REPENT AND / OR ASK HER FRIEND FOR FORGIVENESS. I told my friend why I was going to try growing the plant but that I was just doing research at the moment. MY FRIEND ASKED me to share the information I had- I SHARED WITH HER WHAT I HAD LEARNED.

The lesson of the plant reveals how important presentation is. It also is a reminder that Christians can act ugly.

Ugly Christians turn people away not to Christ; this is why I have zero tolerance for them. These individuals only want people to accept their way of believing. Following Jesus and following man are not the same thing.

“Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.”

The Apostle says “Do not be wise in your own opinion.”

My friend rejected a plant because of a testimony of a person who, like me, saw the medicinal advantages of utilizing various parts of a plant. Fortunately, my friend was able to hear what my thoughts on the plant and was willing to seek the truth. This principle is applicable to our faith.

Our behavior can turn people away or it can lead them to the truth of God’s word. There is nothing worst than an ugly Christian, there is no one harder to love than a Christian who makes you feel bad about being who you are.

We are cautioned: “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Those two ladies may never speak again unless the one realizes how offensive her forceful behavior was. The aggressive nature (evil) of my friends ex-friend did not overcome my friend leaving her bitter and angry and the gentle presentation of information (good)will lead to a healthier lifestyle.

CONCLUSION: God requires that we interact with others in a positive manner. Respond not in kind but in a way that will not cause a person to turn their back on Jesus. Sometimes that means we keep quiet and walk away.

A MATTER OF FAITH reflects the opinions and property of the author MARSHA L F RANDOLPH. All rights reserved- do not use without permission. All Scriptures quoted are from the New King James Version of the Bible unless otherwise stated. Don’t miss weekly faith based post FOLLOW THIS BLOG and receive notifications when a new article is posted.
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ROMANS 12:9-21
Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.  Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.  Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.

Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.  Therefore

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.