John 13:34-35 (NIV)-“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
Jesus gave a new command for us to love one another. Jesus also made a statement that many of us or quick to dismiss: ‘They will know you are my disciples, if you love one another.
In simple terms, if you are my disciples you will love one another.
There are two main points here for me. The first one being that the world will know we are disciples by the love we have and show for others. The second one being that we are only true disciples if we love one another. The first one we will cover today, the second one we will cover tomorrow.
You’ve probably heard the above listed scripture more in the terms of, “they will no we are Christians by our love.” (Yes, tomorrow I will get into Christian vs. disciple.)
Christians are commanded to love. After all, the two greatest commandments are:
Matthew 22:36-40 (NIV): 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[c] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[d] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
There is no doubt about this. If Jesus is so clear that we are to love our neighbors than why is it so hard for Christians to love one another?
You may recall last Thursday that I wrote a post titled “When Christians Attack,” in which I addressed my great sorrow at how bloggers and other Christians are so quick to attack and tear down one another.
Well, my sorrow has not lessened. In fact it has grown greater seeing as the very next day the “blogosphere” was filled with posts attacking Victoria Osteen. Yep, in one day, bloggers went from attacking the “Duck Dynasty” to attacking Victoria. What a great example of love!
I was further dismayed that on Friday, my friends and family were sharing articles on Facebook attacking the Osteens (evidently they did not read my blog the day before.) My friends and family are good, kind Christians. I believe I am a kind and loving Christian. Then, how can we not see what we are doing? When we attack other believers, how can we not see the harm we are causing? How can we not see that we are going against the very God we are trying to promote?
You see, it is my opinion that these types of blogs, articles, and media attention are very hurtful to the Christian cause. What are non-Christians to think when we turn on each other? They will know we are Christians by our love? Well, what does that say about us if we are not showing love? We are trying to convey to non-Christians that we are full of love just like Jesus Christ. How is this leading anyone to Christ? Who in their right mind would sign up for this kind of treatment? You ever wonder why there are so few of us stepping up to be ministers, evangelists, speakers, teachers? Well, I am thinking this kind of treatment may have something to do with it.
I have never read a book by either Mr. or Mrs. Osteen. I don’t know much about them. Some stuff that I have read makes me question some of their teachings. However, just because I don’t agree with what they teach does not give me a right to attack their persons. I can rebut what they teach. I can promote what I believe. I can do all this without dragging Mr. and Mrs. Osteen through the mud. There is no doubt in my mind that Victoria Osteen is a great woman of faith who loves the Lord. Yes, she may be wrong on a few matters, and we should absolutely address those issues or teaching, but name calling and shaming is not the way to do it.
Furthermore, I can disagree with Phil Robertson. I can say why I think he is wrong with some of his statements, but I do NOT have the right to attack Mr. Robertson with my words. I absolutely cannot call him names and drag his family into the muck. I am not a big fan of the show personally, simply because I am not a “woodsy” type of girl. I think it is great to see a Christian family on TV being real. I don’t believe they are putting on airs. I don’t believe they ever thought they would be the face of the “Christian Family.” Do I believe they are the perfect Christian family? No. Is mine? No. I applaud them for standing their ground. I applaud them for being who they are. Do I think there is room for them to grow in their faith? Yes, absolutely! There is growth needed in all our lives. Even Paul stated he had room to grow.
Yes, I know these people give us great headlines and titles to drive readers to our blogs and websites. But before you are tempted to use these people to promote yourself/blog or post something on Facebook, ask yourself, “Am I doing more harm than good? Am I hurting my cause? I am driving others away from God instead of toward God? Will they know I am Christian by this post or article-will they see my love?
I am not perfect. I have done more than my fair share of gossip, shaming, and blaming. I am not trying to preach at anyone. I am simply being real and stating what God has laid on my heart.
I hope you join me tomorrow as I plan to tackle the question, “Is there a difference between a disciple and a Christian?”
Be blessed and BE A BLESSING,