Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Sibling Rivalry

Today in the mail I received an information packet from Voice of the Martyrs ministry. I've heard of them before but I didn't know much about what they do, except that they help persecuted Christians. Some of their literature was aimed at debunking the notion that some Christians hold that it is biblically wrong to break the law, even when that law is taking away human rights. How can we as Christians say that we truly love our brothers and sisters and yet ignore their plight? The pamphlet quoted a seminary professor at a seminary in Indiana that stated to his class that Christians in prison in Cuba who were imprisoned for sharing their faith deserved to be there because they had broken Cuba's law. That is absolutely absurd! Its a wimpy excuse not to help and to absolve himself of any guilt he feels for being free here while his brothers and sisters in Cuba suffer. Its great to debate theology but God has called us to action, not to a religious life filled with debates and nice little conversations about whether its OK or not to break the law when you're sharing the gospel. As Christians here in America we at the very least need to pray for our brothers and sisters around the world suffering at the hands of their government simply because the government doesn't agree with their beliefs, And on top of that I think we should look for practical ways to support them. Have we become so calloused that we will simply debate the merit of breaking the law rather than taking action to help? To me we (the christian church in America) have become just like the pharisees in Jesus day, we debate and fight amongst ourselves about religious topics and we ignore the poor, the hurting and the lost, that is not what God called us to when he commanded us to go into all the world and preach the gospel! We must be active in fulfilling that command, and support each other as we go.

This brings me to another point about how we treat each other as brothers and sisters. All too often we fight and back stab and verbally destroy each other. I think this has happened in the church since the day the church began, it is in our fallen nature to care only about ourselves first and others second, loving others simply to love them is contrary to our human nature. The love we often seek out is love that gets us something in return; comfort, safety in a family, or security in a marriage, but love that we give and require nothing in return is a love that goes against our sinful nature and as a result makes it extremely difficult for us to show. All through scripture you can find the words "love one another" its not a nice simple phrase that makes everyone happy and feel warm and fuzzy, its a decision we make to love with everything within us. Love does not mean to lay down and get walked all over, but love does not envy, its not jealous and its not proud, it is not self seeking... look it up in 1st Corinthians 13, love keeps no record of wrongs and love never fails. I think if we as the body of Christ truly took that to heart and loved God with all that is within us and loved each other in the same way, with a true love not requiring or expecting anything in return, we would see things happen in the world around us that we haven't even dreamed of. Obviously God knew we would struggle to love, that's why he reminds us constantly to do it. My struggle is to love the people around me, those that are my brothers and sisters in Christ, and those that are not yet, with an unconditional love regardless of how they treat me or how they return that love. To love the theology professor that I strongly disagree with and to love the people at work that drive me nuts. Its naturally easier to love some people and naturally harder to love others, I want to learn to love the ones that aren't easily loved, to truly be able to say that I love that person and mean it, and by loving them it doesn't mean I agree with their teaching or their lifestyle but it does mean that I care about them as a person and that I will make any necessary sacrifice for them.
What credit is it to us to love those that love us back? But I think God is pleased when we strive to love those whom give us nothing but trouble in return. Pray for me that I can love unconditionally, and If you want me to I'll pray for you do be able to do the same.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

hey i really struggle with loving individuals also stech... like Jon for instance who i feel only uses me for transportation(sometimes).i just wish i couls love people like him who hurt me unconditoinally like God asks me too... but it's to big a task to ackle on our own so mike will you pray that God gives me strength to love my oppressors, and to wish them the best life, and to forgive them for their attacks they have made against me or my loved one?
Thanks mike,
andrew a. from YL