As I take a brief hiatus (starting today) to rest and spend time investing in myself, my family, and my walk with Jesus, I have written a bit more content in this post for you to reflect over today and this weekend. Thank you for choosing His Daily Dose!
Did you know that God never forces anyone to repent or to accept Him? He’s not interested in oppressing people by forcing them to do something they don’t want to do. (Sin is what’s oppressive, but God sets people free.)
If God Himself wants people to choose Him for themselves with the free-will He gave them, then let’s allow them the opportunity to do just that without judgement. At the same time, we can obey His command by loving them (non-Christians and other Christians) through His grace regardless of their circumstances.
“If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14 NIV
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” 1 John 4:7-8 ESV
As Christians, we have the Bible as our guide, and it helps us to live life in a way that honors God. Truth is truth, and truth sets us free. We are commanded to love others in truth and in deed. If anyone that we know is caught in a sin, we must love them, beloved. But we must also love truth.
Trust in God and He will guide you while you continue to love this person.
Real damage can be caused if someone that proclaims Jesus as King harshly speaks the truth found in His word to another living in sin. The manner in which the truth is communicated (either in arrogance, out of context, in the wrong season, or just meanly stated) can destroy a potential opportunity for a person living in sin to come to know God. For instance, the Bible is clear about abstinence and sexual purity prior to marriage, but such truth must be communicated delicately and with love to an unmarried person who is sexually active. No one wants to be judged, but when truth is spoken without love, feelings of judgement can easily be created.
“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” Matthew 7:1-5 ESV
As disciples of Christ,we are commanded to love so that others will see the love of God in us and want to draw closer to Him. We must must not focus on being right or proving a point at the expense of another. If anything that we say causes someone to run from God, creates bitterness and resentment towards the church, or invokes shame and condemnation, then we may really need to take a step back and evaluate whether we are truly loving this person through the power of the Holy Spirit.
“Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Philippians 2:3-4 ESV
However, there is another side to this coin.
If we love others but avoid speaking the truth, is this really love? No, we really cannot have one without the other. Love must be rooted in truth, and truth must be executed in love. They mirror one another.
In the Bible, God is defined as love, but He is also truth. There is harm in loving a person but never addressing the sins causing destruction in their lives. To overlook blatant sin so that “everyone can just get along” isn’t really truth. It’s actually denial, deception, and a failure to recognize God’s law.
In this case where sin is habitually overlooked, people can feel accepted and loved, but they do not walk in truth and may perish.
The people in my life are a diverse group, ranging from those that deeply love Jesus and are mature in their faith to others that reject the existence of God, are apathetic to Christ, and are angry at Christians and the church. And I genuinely love each of these individuals. Do I want them all to experience the hope, joy, and eternal salvation that I have received by accepting Jesus and living through His grace? Yes, of course.
But will I judge them for hating God or rejecting what I believe? Absolutely not, because God is big enough to defend Himself. However, I do continuously seek the Lord about what to say to these individuals (and when to say it). After all, God’s will is for everyone to walk in truth, and truth brings freedom, the very reason that Christ died for us.
Love people just as they are (which is what Christ does for us).
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 NIV
Pray for people (which is what Christ does for us).
“Who then will condemn us? No one–for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.” Romans 8:34 NLT
And confront people with His truth at the right time (which is what Christ does for us).
“Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:1-2 ESV
Who in your life have you failed to love because of what they believe or what they do? On the flip side, is there anyone in your life that you love but needs to hear truth?
Let’s love people in the same way that Christ loves us. To God alone be the glory!
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