|Photo courtesy of Eva Marie Everson|
Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; never be conceited. Romans 12:16b RSV
It just so happened that in two different conversations this week with two different Christians, the conversations came around to their telling me of incidents where they had been snubbed by a fellow Christian. Not only had the hurtful incidents been caused by someone in the Church, but they had also occurred while in a church.
Sadly enough, that probably happens much more than we realize or would like to admit. You may have experienced it yourself. Or even worst, God forbid, you may have been the Christian who caused the hurt. Both of the people I talked to decided to leave the church where the offense occurred. It saddened me to hear of it. I caught myself thinking about it several times.
Here’s the thing. Even if you have serviced the Lord for decades, never miss an opportunity to attend services, teach Sunday School, and read the Bible through cover to cover annually, you still must love others.
By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one for another. John 13:35
That love is demonstrated by our actions and deeds on a person by person basis every day. After all, individuals make up the body of Christ, which forms His Church.
We read Paul’s words in Romans 12 about the true attributes of a Christian. Paul said let our “love be genuine”.
Matthew Henry wrote in his commentary that “the professed love of Christians to each other should be sincere.” He went on to write these provocative words:
“Nothing is below us, but sin. We shall never find in our hearts to condescend to others, while we indulge conceit of ourselves.”
The story of Jesus stooping down to write with his finger in the sand comes to mind. (John 8:3-11) A woman who had been caught in the act of adultery was brought before him. The scribes and Pharisees indeed found reason to lord over her their superiority and her own guilt and shame. They would have stoned her to death had not the light of Jesus convicted them of their own sin. Jesus treated her with love and kindness. He, who was without sin, pardoned this sinful woman.
Neither do I condemn thee; go, and sin no more. John 8:11b
Jesus Christ is the standard. He carried our sins on the cross. Arrogance was nailed to the cross. I hope I will remember that if ever I feel inclined to look down my nose at another brother or sister in Christ.
Do nothing from selfishness or conceit, but in humility count others better than yourself. Philippians 2:3 RSV
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