The book of I John was written to help you KNOW for sure if you belong to Him. The passage below offers one of those tests.
Of course, we often want to ask, “Who are the brothers and sisters John is talking about here?”
“Are they my brothers and sisters in the human race or the ones that are only in the family of GOD, those who have believed in Christ?”
The answer is a resounding, “YES!”
People who are aware of how much they have been forgiven, forgive…and love
Why? Christians need to be people who are known to be forgivers, because we have been forgiven so much! We want to be people who are respectful of other human beings as those created in GOD’s image.
Not just in ways such as routine politeness, but in ways such as truly listening to another person’s view that might be different from mine, truly listening to hear where they are coming from…thus developing close relationships with both believers and non-believers alike!
Have you learned how to listen?
Do I honor my homosexual friend enough to listen to his story and hear his pain? Even pain that people like me, with beliefs similar to mine have added to. How might my expressing my beliefs in a different way, show him the love of Christ rather than just make him feel put down?
Do I love my friend of another race enough to allow her to express her pain without rushing to defend “my side” of the story…or my perspective? How might listening to her heart actually help me love her better? I’m not here to be the defense attorney for anyone’s position. I’m here to love people in the way Jesus loved them. It doesn’t mean I ignore truth, but I may tell it in a different way. One thing is for sure, I don’t need to bash people with it.
Do I love friends who come from different denominational or political views enough to hear them and listen to the how’s and why’s of how they got to those places? I may never get to the same places they did, but if I can have some humility, enough to listen to them without feeling the rush to share my agenda? Isn’t that showing the love of Christ to them? I can tell you that none of this comes easily or naturally to me…at all! But over time, I have learned to do it and discovered I am not nearly as different from those I listen to as I once thought!
GOD’s work in this world is bigger than any one person, denomination, political party or viewpoint! I don’t have all the answers. I need to learn to be humble enough to admit it with ease and grace.
Are you learning how to honor people as those who are created in GOD’s image?
I can’t help but wonder if we Christians used a more respectful tone and dealt with policies rather than personalities, facts rather than motives, that we can’t fully know, the political situation could be a little less polarized in our country. This holds true in the political realm and in our churches as well. Sometimes our desire to be right overrides all other considerations. This is not an attitude that comes from GOD. We can’t find it in the way Jesus lived His life! His respect for relationship was extremely high. Being right and demanding that others agree with my view of “right” wasn’t how He operated.
He taught truth, for sure. He held each person responsible for what they did with it, yes. But demanding people believe what he said? I don’t see it.
Telling the truth is good. But HOW we tell the truth is just as important as the telling of it. Sometimes, the best way we can tell the truth is by listening to the other person. Sometimes, we need to use less words and more actions…of love!
Whoever says he is in the light
and hates his brother is still in darkness.
Whoever loves his brother abides in the light,
and in him there is no cause for stumbling.
But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness
and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going,
because the darkness has blinded his eyes.
I John 2:9-11
Do you know you belong to Christ, but see much weakness here? Then take a look back at this earlier part of I John 2:1-2. It is very encouraging!