What is love and slander?

June 21, 2016

What is love?  That seems to be the question of the century.  

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

There has been so much going on all around us lately, I wanted to take the opportunity to share my thoughts this morning.  This isn’t your typical Blog Tuesday post, but sometimes different is ok.

I guess the first would be this love / hate debate that is continually sparked between gay, straight, black, white, blue, pink, transgender, short, tall, people.  This whole “if I don’t agree with you, then I hate you” mentality is absurd.  I said it.  But it needed to be said.

Matthew 22:37-39: Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 

God does not say in his word, “only when you agree with someone do you love them.”  It does not say, “hate those who disagree with your beliefs.”  The Bible says that the second greatest commandment is to “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  That means, love people the way you would love yourself, or want them to love you.  I don’t have to agree with you to love you.

People, I love you.  If I don’t agree with you, I still love you.  I get so discouraged with people who call themselves Christians that wave their hands and scream to the mountains that they are boycotting this, or won’t shop there, or they give dirty looks or air out their hateful comments on social media.  Come on people.  Does this fit the description of “Love your neighbor as yourself?”  Buying milk at a store doesn’t mean you agree with the store’s policies.  It means you’re feeding your family, which we are also called to do.  (But those who won’t care for their relatives, especially those in their own household, have denied the true faith. Such people are worse than unbelievers. 1 Timothy 5:8)

We are ALL sinners.  (Romans 3:22-26 “This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.”  | Acts 3:19 “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.”

We don’t “get right” and then go to church.  We “get right” IN church, surrounded by people who love Jesus and want to see us living fully in Him.  We don’t “get right” by feeling shamed by those around us.  We “get right” by surrounding ourselves with those who love us, care for our wellbeing as a person, welcome us in.  Let’s be the friends that bring people to Jesus.  Friends encourage and sharpen each other.  That means if I see my friend doing something that’s not right, I lovingly approach him/her about it.  (Iron sharpens iron, So one man sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17  |  Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10  |  Better is open rebuke Than love that is concealed. Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But deceitful are the kisses of an enemy. Proverbs 27:5-6)

Professing your hate of a sin publicly doesn’t show love.  If you are going to profess one sin publicly, then let’s lay them all out.

Gluttony.  Adultery.  Murder.  Lying.  Laziness.  Abuse.  Boasting.  Bitterness.  Arrogance.  Condemning.  Contention.  Covetousness.  Cursing.  Deceit.  And the list goes on and on and on.  But I think some of us forget that these are sins, too.  Yet we throw stones while we, ourselves, are living in sin.

And since we are on the subject of professing things publicly, there is one more thing I want to address today.

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“So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good. As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ….” 1 Peter 2: 1-25

Let’s create a story:  You and I are great friends.  You do something to make me mad, or do something that I don’t agree with.  You are a great person and with great values and a good heart.  But because I don’t agree with you on this said “thing” I go and tell three people that you are a dishonorable person and can’t be trusted.  I tell them that you aren’t as good of a person as I thought.

What does that do to you?  That immediately taints their perception of who you are as a person.  Because, you see, these three people don’t know you.  They only know of you what I’ve told them.  So now, just because of what I’ve said to these three people, you will forever have to redeem yourself in their eyes.  You are a good person with great values and a good heart.  But that doesn’t matter.  Because I have planted a seed that makes the other three people doubt you.

Is that fair?  Of course not!!  Shouldn’t these three people come and meet you themselves so they can see that you are truly a good person, with great values, and a good heart?  That would make sense.

This very scenario is something that a lot of people do not take into consideration when airing out their opinions on social media and public avenues.  Please be careful with your public words about people, churches, pastors, friends, family, etc.  YOU plant seeds everyday into the lives of others.  Are you planting seeds of doubt and contention?  If you have problems with someone, please go find out from THAT person what the issues are.  If you have problems with an organization, talk to people PERSONALLY, and do you research.  Let’s be the “big C” Church, bringing others to Christ.

I’ll end with this video my sister sent me.  It’s incredible!  Take a couple minutes and check it out!

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