I've spent a great deal of this month deciding whether to make this blog post or let it be. The truth is, nothing is solved when we choose to "keep peace" rather than make it. Matthew 5:9 reads, "Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God." God is not pleased when we stay silent and fail to speak the truth in order to "keep the peace". He is more pleased when we speak what is right so that others can be made free, and with freedom comes peace. Jesus himself flipped tables for the sake of the kingdom and desire to preserve God temple as a sacred place.
I've heard and seen a lot of people use scripture to justify ungodly actions. The word of God is not nor should it ever be used as a weapon to defend our sin. Countless of people have used scriptures surrounding the idea of loving your brother and sister to their benefit. YES! As Christian, we are called to love our brothers and sisters in Christ. However, that does not mean that in love, one must roll over and allow you to do as you please. As Christians, we are called to many things, some of which include: loving our brothers and sisters, showing kindness to others and praying for our enemies. Do we honestly know what these things means? These concepts are not only applicable when trying to plea for forgiveness for ourselves and fellow comrades. These concepts are to be applied everyday.
Love is not a feeling, but an action. Therefore we must act on our love for one another. If our faith makes us brothers and sisters, this means we are family. We are siblings. When your biological family members are doing something wrong, wish ill will towards other people, etc., do you watch them hurt themselves and others or do you correct them? Complacency is the evidence of hypocrisy when related to sin. If you are born again, you are convicted when you or others sin because the spirit of Jesus, which hates sin, lives within you. People tend to forget that there are two sides to this brother/sister coin. Not only are we called to love one another, but to keep one another. Being your "brother's keeper" means you aid them when needed and call them out on their crap. Acknowledgement does not equate to judgement. We have to get this notion out of our heads. If there are two apples, one good and one visibly bruised. Acknowledging that one is bruised does not mean you are judging the apple, you are merely stating a fact. Acknowledging when your brother/sister sins, does not mean you are striving to judge or condemn them, more than likely it proves that you love them because no one can progress if they do not acknowledge and learn from their short comings. As siblings within the family of faith, we are called to submit to one another, meaning that we are willingly responsible for one another, and because we are both Holy spirit filled we can trust one another to help lead and guide us.
Kindness means nothing when you are receiving it. True character is demonstrated when you are being met with hatred, judgment, haters, etc.. Instead of reciprocating that same energy, respond with love and kindness. This is how you show people who you are without having to tell them. So what does that look like in real life? It could look like breaking bread with someone who you has wronged you. It could be something as simple as walking away from an antagonizing argument or conversation. Remember, to return evil for good is demonic. To return good for good is human. To return good for evil, now that, is the way of Jesus. We demonstrate the way of the Lord when we respond to raging fire with calm, still water. As hard as it may seem, pray for those who do you harm. The truth is, we don't know what people are going through. We don't know what they are facing. It's easy to typecast and label them. More often than not, people are projecting emotions they have yet to deal with on to you. Extending grace does not mean you excuse their behavior. Address it, then go to God about it. Ask him to deal with their heart because you are not in the business of fixing people no matter what your mind has told you. If you want to be in control of someone's growth, get a plant. It'll do you some good lol.
I said all that to say this, let's be the church. Let's be God's people. Let's live what we preach and teach. Let's identify our individual and collective sin and do the work to become better people. Read Matthew 5:43-48, 1 John 3 and meditate on these things for Psalm 1 tells us to meditate on the word of God both day and night.
Go with God. Grow in Grace. Live in Love.
- Demetria Ladia