One of the sad realities of the Christian church is that we are too often known for fighting amongst ourselves. Now I know that some divisions can be necessary in cases of true heresy. However I wonder how often that is really the case. For example as a young man I remember sitting in a church business meeting in one church where 30 intense minutes were spent passionately debating what temperature the thermostat should be set at during worship. The issue was only settled after the clerk reminded the congregation that they had already voted on that matter four months prior. Yikes!
1Cor. 1:10 Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment.
What if the real reason for our tensions was much simpler and darker than theological drift. What if it came down to pride, preference and old-fashioned selfishness? We see an example of this in the early church at Corinth.
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1Cor. 13:7
I’ve heard more than one person stand on a platform and say what we all want most is to love and be loved. The theme of the old sitcom Cheers worked its way into our hearts with the lyric lamenting that every longs for a place where everyone knows their name. While the world longs for this our culture continues pressing for new paths that appeal to this desire while delivering only greater pain and disappointment. We have all but given up on the idea of true love for life between men & women and find ourselves settling for moments of hopeful connection between chasms of lonely disappointment.
We end the series on Relationship Principles of Jesus this week with a look at lasting love. Jesus stands in contrast to the marketing of our day with an ancient answer for our soul’s deepest longing. His life changing, relationship defining love is still in play for those who are willing to embrace it. You can experience the lasting love of Jesus deep in your heart in ways that transform you for the better.
The lasting love of Jesus will change you in ways you never thought possible.
Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Philippians 2:3-4
What comes to mind when you think of a servant? What do you feel when you are treated like one? When you first began to dream of what your life would become was becoming a servant part of the picture? What if being a servant is actually a key to great relationships?
Our natural instinct in life is to collect relationships that serve us. If we are honest the ones we like the most serve some need or show promise of meeting some desire.
If we aren’t careful we look at relationships from a consumeristic perspective without fully realizing it. We stop seeing other people as other people.
Some of our efforts to obtain good relationships might actually be making them less likely. The harder you work the worse it gets, the more you chase the further away they move. The ones that don’t help range from frustrating and annoying to outright enemies. Jesus seeks to shatter this kind of thinking and take us to a different place.
JUDGE NOT THAT YE NOT BE JUDGED. Few biblical phrases have been more used by more people in our present time than this one. It might be one of the most emotionally charged can of worms in the room. It is one of the most seriously negative things a person can be accused of doing. Some morally confused groups raise the bar another level by equating it with hate. My point is not to debate the fairness of this tactic, because it does raise in interesting thought. Think for a moment about why so many are drawn to this statement of Jesus. It seems that humanity has a universal dislike for feeling judged by others. Perhaps, for those who have felt it repeatedly, judgment does in fact come to feel like hate. Judging each other creates real barriers to relationship, communication and positive impact of any kind.