Recently I had someone known call me wanting to catch up as we hadn’t spoken for a few years now. The meeting didn’t take place but she did call me again… It turned out she wanted to clear her name in a situation and in an attempt to find someone to pass the buck to, she decided the person who could have committed the perceived wrong would have likely been me as the shoe fits! According to her, why did the shoe fit? Apparently I am known by EVERYONE to be the one who fights with everyone – and that I don’t even exempt old ladies, that she has heard all the stories. How nice to know what some people or perhaps even one person (who wants to think that everyone thinks the same as that person) thinks of me 🙂 Ohhh… and this person proceeded to bring up some stories out of context that had taken place a few years ago and advise me that I surely need help.
From a counselling standpoint, when someone approaches you out of the blue and gives you ‘advice’, we can actually question their motives… A heart motivated by love wouldn’t feel the need to bring out dirt let alone that of many years ago. Secondly, when someone says “everyone” that means there is “no one” else but the person alone. Ok, maybe the people in her circle could think likewise – after all birds of a feather do tend to flock together.
However, from the perspective of a believer, I couldn’t help but feel sad how many “believers” have misunderstood the simple concept of “love”. So many people think of love as being “nice and sweet” all the time every time. Speaking outright, no matter how gently with love and coupled with acts of love in other areas, is deciphered as “fighting” by many especially those who are from predominantly shame oriented cultures. Heart to heart discussions aren’t on the table…. they would prefer complacency to the face to gain acceptance yet the negative emotions of being walked over or used is taken out in the form of back-biting and gossip, behind the back. So many of us live such double hypocritical lives. And they try to suggest to those who live transparent honest lives to be “more like Jesus”.
We dislike disagreements and loving confrontation so we claim that being like Jesus is being ‘complacent’ and that “loving” someone is to avoid confrontation and pretending all that is okay.
Well, it’s obvious that people who say that haven’t studied the life of Jesus properly. First of all, Jesus Himself tells us to “GO” to the brother (not just sit still or ignore the situation) who sins against you. If not resolved, Jesus doesn’t tell us to stop there but proceeds to outline a few more steps in Matthew 18:15-20. So then why do we pretend everything is hunky dory when we are wronged? Why do we tell others to forget about it without even approaching the person who wronged them? Why do we then wriggle out of going as a witness to help others resolve their differences despite the assurance that Jesus will be with us “when two or three are gathered together”?
Well if the above passage isn’t sufficient for us to re-think, let’s delve more into scriptures.
Jesus was loving and patient and graceful with the “sinners”. However, when it came to the Pharisees (the religious leaders) Jesus point blankly rebuked them and even called them “brood of vipers” and “hypocrites”. This was to the face mind you. He referred to Herod as “that fox” when speaking to the Pharisees… We all know the incident that Jesus pulled out His whips at His Father’s house…. He challenged those who were stoning the woman caught in adultery.
Doesn’t God tell us to stand up against oppression, to seek justice? Doesn’t Jesus ask us to seek FIRST the Kingdom of God and His righteousness? Aren’t we asked to speak the truth in love with each other? Aren’t the commandments revolving around love and hence RELATIONSHIP? Doesn’t love include being honest? Aren’t we called to gently restore those who are caught in sin?
God says He rebukes and disciplines those whom He loves (Revelation 3:19)… The Bible clearly reveals to us the nature of God:
The LORD is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love – Psalm 145:8
There are many other verses which repeat the same – and that He is also a forgiving God. It is important to note that the verses don’t say that He doesn’t get angry but rather that He is SLOW to anger.
The LORD is slow to anger and great in power; the LORD will not leave the guilty unpunished.
His way is in the whirlwind and the storm, and clouds are the dust of his feet – Nahum 1:3
Emotions are given to us by God – they are not created by ourselves.. Jesus and other Biblical characters demonstrated emotions… Anger is also a healthy emotion if handled correctly – it shows that something isn’t right and thus we set out to set it right. We are called not to sin in our anger, we aren’t told not to get angry.
And for those of us who love pretending aka falsehood, under the pretense of being “peace loving”, well.. there is a word of caution for us:
Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood – Revelations 22:15
Yup, loving and practicing falsehood is placed at par with the practice of the magic arts, sexual immorality, murder and idolatry… and leads to end up in the same place.
- How would you now view Jesus and what it means to be like Him?
- Seek God and ask Him to reveal areas where we need to have faith and strength in Him to be like Him.
Jesus tells us that all men will hate us in the last days… whereby all men are not just those who don’t believe but those who claim to believe but yet do not yield to Him.