God clearly commands Christians to love their brothers and sisters in Christ. As a matter of fact He says that this will be the identifying mark that we are indeed followers of Christ, that we love one another.
In today’s churches Christians have come to equate love with agreement and acceptance of everyone and of all ideas. But just as we look to God’s Word for what He requires of us (love), so Christians must look to His word to define love. God is the manifestation of love to us and yet we know that God does not agree with or accept everyone. (Matt. 7:22-23 and John 3:18-21) God clearly calls sinners to repent and turn from their sinful ways. He calls some actions sinful and He declares that some people, even some who claim to be proclaimers of the Word, are accursed (Galatians 1:8-10). So love can not equal agreement and acceptance without restriction.
Matthew 7:1 ( Judge not, That ye be not judged) is often quoted as teaching that Christians should not judge, ever. However, reading the passage in context (Matt. 7) reveals that this is warning us against a common fault, looking at others sins and ignoring our own. Notice verse 6 and also 15-20 in the same chapter:
“Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast your pearls before the swine, lest haply they trample them under their feet, and turn and rend you.”
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravening wolves. By their fruits ye shall know them. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but the corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Therefore by their fruits ye shall know them.”
If the passage is saying that Christians should never judge, then why would Christ immediately tell us to beware of false prophets or not to cast our pearls before swine? In this passage Christians are in fact commanded to look at the fruit and MAKE A JUDGMENT. Christians are to judge, but are to judge rightly with humility after they have examined themselves. The initial command then is to judge in a worthy manner so that we will be helpful, not harmful to our neighbor.
Christians have been told time and again that if they disagree with someone and say so, then they are being unloving. This leads to another passage, Proverbs 27:17 iron sharpening iron. This verse infers that we will be at different places and different levels of understanding and that is OK. As we talk and discuss, we will learn and grow more sharp, more obedient and more Christ-like. Isn’t that the point of our Christian walk?
Christians must learn to disagree in love. We must not be afraid to voice our differences. Then we would lose the amazing benefit of iron sharpening iron. We must understand that while we may be in different places on the path, we are all on God’s path. We are on the same side in the conflict and through our differences He makes us stronger, more effective weapons for His glory. However, if we don’t handle our differences Biblically, we make Christ’s name a mockery and tear down His servants who love Him and are trying to follow Him.
I have been contemplating some posts with which some of you may disagree. Before I post them I wanted to explain this. We may disagree and we may believe that the other is wrong. That is fine. Our family prays regularly that God will show us where we have wrong beliefs, ideas and practices. So, we would appreciate loving instruction based upon God’s word. That would be an answer to prayer for us.
Differences handled Biblically among Christians should not lessen our love for each other. They should make our love stronger because our bond is in Christ, not in the fact that we agree. Our bond is bigger than our opinions and Christ is the one who draws us together. This is the pull of the gospel to the nations, we who are rich, poor, young, old, educated, and uneducated can love each other, can have sweet fellowship with others who are sinners saved by grace, just like we are. In Christ we are one.
Our most basic presuppositions:
- The Bible, both the Old and New Testaments is God’s inspired Word and as such is the standard by which we judge every aspect of our lives. Human logic or “practicality” does not trump God’s Word, ever.
- The Bible speaks to every area of our lives and is sufficient for every problem that we face.
Some more thoughtful posts:
Before the Beginning on why we considered homeschooing in the first place.
Why We Homeschool Part 1: Public Schools tells why we didn’t choose public schools.
Our Hot House on how the Lord used our first church to sharpen our family.
Reasons We Have a Large Family with a little humor thrown in for fun.