1 Thess. 4:9-12
9 About brotherly love: You don’t need me to write you because you yourselves are taught by God to love one another. 10 In fact, you are doing this toward all the brothers in the entire region of Macedonia. But we encourage you, brothers, to do so even more, 11 to seek to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you, 12 so that you may walk properly in the presence of outsiders and not be dependent on anyone.
A lot of people seem to think that grace is a license to sin, and walk around in a fashion that gives people no clue that they are a Christian. Many live in sin, are lazy gossips. That is not how to walk in a manner worthy of God! We are the only Bible that some folks will ever read. If we are not living the way that God wants us to live, where will they go for the truth? Why should they search for it at all when they see Christians living like the devil?
We need to show them a people worth copying . Unless they see Christ in us, that isn’t going to happen.
I have often stated that debating is my sport. While it can be fun for strange people like me, we (Yes I am including myself in this) need to be very careful not to lose focus on what is really important here. The goal should not be to smash our opponent’s face in with our fist till he or she is to battered and bruised to get off the floor. It is tempting to say that some people deserve it, I personally have been battling harsh feelings toward someone who claimed she was my friend, and have been quite grumpy toward people with similar philosophies for almost a year now. It is time that I STOP IT! Our goal should be to lead them closer to the truth, not to obliterate their face! Being mean wins no one, if Christ loved you before you were saved, you should at least try to love the person that you are debating. If you are mean, you could do more harm than good. It is possible to win the battle, but lose the war.
2 Timothy 4:1-2 I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.
Many people think that Matthew 7:1 forbids judging, and they use it as an excuse to just sit by and endorse sin by keeping our mouths shut, but if you have read the definitions of the highlighted words above you know that the Bible tells us that there are situations that we can correct, express disapproval, criticize sharply, and warn people away from sin. All of those things are kinds of judging. So Matthew 7:1 can’t mean what people think it means. If you read down to Matthew 7:5 you will discover that it is referring to hypocritical judgement.
This isn’t an excuse to be mean and nasty, if you reread 2 Timothy 4:1-2 you will see that it ends with the phrase “with complete patience and teaching”. While there are forms of judging we can and should do, we should not do it with the purpose of making the person feel below you, we are to teach them with patience. Sometimes we may have to speak sharply like when some drunk person wants to drive a car filled with kids, but that kind of judging should be limited to situations that demand action that minute. If you are judging because you care, and not out of hate, it is a legitimate thing to do. Just remember that God is love, and wants you to behave with love too.
Matthew 22:36-40 English Standard Version (ESV)
36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
You shall love your neighbour as yourself. Every Christian should have heard that phrase, but have you ever really thought about it? This is one verse that I believe can be turned on it’s head, You shall love yourself as you love your neighbor.
I used to think that being humble meant that I could not love myself, but if you hate yourself, then the second greatest commandment would be more like hate your neighbour as you hate yourself. God definitely doesn’t want that!
God wants us to love ourselves, To hate yourself would be to hate someone that God loves.
“True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.”
“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”
Love without truth is sentimentality; it supports and affirms us but keeps us in denial about our flaws. Truth without love is harshness; it gives us information but in such a way that we cannot really hear it. God’s saving love in Christ, however, is marked by both radical truthfulness about who we are and yet also radical, unconditional commitment to us. The merciful commitment strengthens us to see the truth about ourselves and repent. The conviction and repentance moves us to cling to and rest in God’s mercy and grace. – Timothy Keller