We are supposed to help one another reach a better understanding of the things of God and lift one another up as we strive for the kingdom. We are to rebuke and also revive one another, but how do we do this efficiently?
The truths I hold and write about often go against the traditions commonly seen in Christianity today, and as someone who isn’t a go-against-the-grain kind of person, this can be hard. Pair that with a sharp tongue and the problem is compounded.
When we interact with people, especially believers, who hold false and even dangerous ideas of the nature of God or the gospel, if we don’t deal with it the right way we might do a lot of damage. Iron sharpens Iron, right? But it also slices.
Are we sharpening one another or slicing each other up?
In an article I wrote not too long ago, Those Who “Kill With the Sword” Kill Themselves, I wrote about a tendency I have to use the word of God (the Sword) negligently and how when we do this we are hurting ourselves and others. On the other side of that however, if we are too afraid to use the word for fear of doing harm, we might find ourselves also failing to give a needed rebuke or correction.
There is some balance here I’m trying to find within myself, and I think it is good for all of us to think about these things. We should use meekness when meekness is called for and boldness only when necessary. We should never degrade or demean, but let the word of God and the truth of the Spirit do the work with a heart that seeks to help others come to better understanding so God is better glorified.
If we approach others harshly because we feel they attacked us and we are offended and angry, we will not handle it the right way. We are forgetting the patience of Christ that is leading us to repentance and we wrongly assume that we deserve to be treated “right.” What about when we feel angry because someone demeans a truth about God or someone we care about? That might be a little more difficult. It is for me, but we should remember that God is patient with everyone.
“God sends rain on the just and the unjust” right? He allows the wicked to continue to mock Him because He loves us. He deals with our sins while we strive to know Him better because He loves us. He died so we could be forgiven because He loves us. He lives so we can live because He loves us. Tearing down people wrongly is not part of the deal. It is not the Love of Jesus we should strive to embody in all that we do.
How did Jesus endure the beatings, mocking, cursing, and crucifixion without striking the Pharisees and the like down and in the end saying, “forgive them. They know not what they do?” I want to know how to do that. I need to know how to do that — especially in a time when it’s not only the unbelieving world that is the problem, but also the “believing.” Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? We all need to be able to keep this kind of patience, and there are many who see how corrupt things have gotten and suffer for it. Not to mention the persecution of the last days if we are here to see it.
Whatever comes our way we need to be at peace or we will give into things that are not of God. We need Jesus to write these things in our hearts and seal them up tight. On one hand there is again the peace we find in the sovereignty of God, teaching us that all good things we have were given to us by Him and those who would do us harm are blind and cannot do any different – and God allows it so we need to respect His wisdom in what is happening.
As with all things, we often learn by trial and error then seeking Jesus to help us learn a better way. If we have sowed conflict among our brothers and sisters, allowed secondary matters to divide us, or rebuked in anger, we should repent, apologize, and ask the Lord to help us do better next time.