We are quick to put others in boxes these days. We’ve all been guilty of it. We’ve been judged and been found wanting. We’ve judged others just as mercilessly and decided they aren’t worth our energy anymore.
You’ve been a jerk to people this past couple years. Unless your crowd is thoroughly tight-lipped with their opinions, someone you once considered a friend has opened their mouth and now you’re left wondering what you ever had in common. Instead of exercising compassion and seeing this person as a beloved friend with whom you vary on a particular subject, they immediately get written off as “one of those” people and the relationship dies a slow and awkward death.
I know because I’ve been written off. It really sucks. But you know what? I’ve been just as guilty. And it’s time for this crap to stop.
You know what?
Choosing not to get a vack-seen does not make someone a bad person.
Being wary of a Vyrus does not mean someone is living in fear.
Standing for liberty does not mean someone is selfish.
Caring about black people does not mean someone is woke.
Loving America does not mean someone is racist.
Guys. We cannot allow ourselves to be divided over this garbage and make people out to the be the bad guy just because we don’t see eye-to-eye! But it ends only when we say it does.
I recently listened to Francis Chan’s book entitled “Until Unity.” I originally thought the book would be focused on race relations within the church, but it wasn’t. It was focused on good old-fashioned Christian unity. Period.
Francis referenced the love and devotion the early church had for one another in the beginning:
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. …
The beautiful thing about the early church that attracted the lost was the uncommon love displayed in Jesus’ followers. How could people, vastly different people, overcome their prejudices and preferences and become closer than family? You know what they say: With man, it is impossible, but with God…
So what is our problem? Why can’t we love and accept each other, if we have Christ in common? If there is no gospel issue that needs to be addressed (false teaching or unrepentant sin), we have no excuse to separate ourselves from relationship with a Christian brother or sister. It’s actually sin if we do.
How can we blame non-believers for not being interested in the love of Christ when we display it so poorly within our own family? Just as we wouldn’t take marriage advice from a couple that can’t stand each other, is it any wonder the watching world wants nothing to do with a church that treats its own with contempt?
We have to repent. Any of us that call ourselves followers of Jesus must commit to the unity he prayed for in John 17:
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”
Your political views don’t excuse you from loving other Christians. Neither do your thoughts on Coh-vid, or racism, or conservation, or the poor. Christians are allowed to disagree on non-gospel issues. We are called to help each other kill sin, obey God, and point one another back to Christ as often as necessary. We can’t do that if we’re focused on what we don’t agree on. We can only do it if we’re focused on Christ.
Start in your own family and then let the circle be ever-widenening. Resolve to love that person with whom you could argue about the color of the sky. Humble yourself and admit that maybe you might not know everything, and even if you do, you’re called to kindness anyway.
Let’s stop being jerks and love each other the way we’re supposed to.
Merry Christmas, from one jerk to another.