Perhaps the most detrimental mistake is to lose ones witness and respect by two or three instances of bad behavior towards others which is often the result of things that are not even factual or misunderstood. That is one of my pet peeves with social media, you can control to some extent what you write but not how another understands what you right. People sometimes read out of emotion or hurriedly and totally miss the intent of others.
“Do for others what you want them to do for you: this is the meaning of the Law of Moses and of the teachings of the prophets. (Matthew 7:12)”
It takes many years to establish a solid reputation and build sound relationships and be respected by others, but only 2 or 3 instances or even just minutes to destroy ones witness for Christ and others, that can last months or years. Of course, the other side of that is people need to forgive as well.
We have all heard the phrase “the proof is in the pudding”, I think of that term regarding the Bible view of people when they are tested or challenged with things that are either hard or don’t line up with what they desire. We all as Christians have the challenge to show ourselves and others just who we are when we walk through the fires of life. It’s easy for anyone to serve the Lord when everything is great, but what about when they are not.
What then is our strength, comfort, hope, faith, attitude, demeanor and actions. It’s how we react to those times that truly define us?
Who hasn’t been confused, worried, hurt, stressed, angered, or hopeless, at some times in their life?
Being a minister for many years, I have seen a lot of things. Most disturbing has been when I have seen people’s friendships, families, and even Churches destroyed over things that only six months to a year later people wished they would have reacted differently. Destructive words and actions often stem from things based on gossip, not having facts, misinterpreting or misunderstanding others, or while not often simply meanness. In most all cases people later discount behavior by we are simply human.
Christian’s are human but Christ has called His people to be better than just human, but to be Christlike, Ambassadors for Christ, to grow beyond being like the world.
What does the Bible say?
“If someone has done you wrong, do not repay him with a wrong. Try to do what everyone considers to be good. Do everything possible on your part to live in peace with everybody. (Romans 12:17-18)”
God blesses those people who make peace.
They will be called his children!
Be tolerant with one another and forgive one another whenever any of you has a complaint against someone else. You must forgive one another just as the Lord has forgiven you. And to all these qualities add love, which binds all things together in perfect unity. (Colossians 3:13-14)
John 17:16 “They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.”
Father in Heaven,
Help us to be more like Christ in how we communicate, understand, forgive, and treat others. Protect our witness and relationships from petty things and help us to overcome controversy and be peacemakers, not only because it’s the right thing to do but because it will bring blessings to us all.
As we grow in faith, let us walk by faith not sight, let us walk in love not emotions, nor hurt, confusion or fear.
Teach us to follow and worship You in peace, spirit and truth, through and with Your Spirit.
In Jesus Name,
Cedar Plains Christian Church