“For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you are always biting and devouring one another, watch out! Beware of destroying one another.”
Galatians 5:14-15 NLT
They will know we are Christians by our love. Or they should. Sometimes it’s hard to figure out what love looks like these days. The people who say they will never leave you are usually the first ones to make their exit and the ones you break bread with are the ones who betray you. If you didn’t know I’m talking about Jesus.
Peter told Jesus that he would go to jail with him if need be. He ran when the Romans arrested him. His treasurer sold him out for 30 pieces of silver. If friendship was complicated for Jesus then you know that today is just a hot mess.
I was watching an old news feed from when I was standing with a friend who had a racial epithet sprayed on his truck. It was a live feed and a woman said, “There’s that crooked Stacy Spencer…” I was like…”Whuuut?!” I shook it off and said to myself accusations come with doing the work of ministry. But just yesterday someone called my name in a store asking me for a favor concerning ministry. And the woman told me her name and it was the same woman who called me “crooked!” I said to myself, “God this has to be a coincidence!” I walked away in hopes that it was and I didn’t dare ask because I’m not sure what my response would’ve been if she had confirmed my suspicion.
The person you judge maybe the person you need tomorrow.
- Beware of destroying one another. What good does it do to destroy another person’s character? Some people specialize in assassinating people’s characters. They sit in church and just pick people off like spiritual snipers.
- Kill it with love. The more people talk about you the more you should love them. This isn’t mushy, feel-good love. This is, “I’m going to take the high road” kind-of-love. As Michelle Obama said, “When they go low, we go high.”
- Love your neighbor as you love yourself. Paul proposes a higher standard, “Love your neighbor as you love yourself!” Treat people like you would want to be treated. As believers we should not be backbiting and tearing each other down. There’s nothing holy or righteous about that. That’s petty!
Today if somebody tries to tear down someone in your presence. Don’t participate in that mess. Encourage them to take up their concerns with that person. And if you accidentally hear someone talking about you, do me a favor! Go love the hell out of them! That’s what Jesus did!