If you think that all Christians are nice, you are in the wrong planet. Christians are humans, broken people who by the Grace, and only the Grace of God, were redeemed. We are all in a long process of growing, changing, and becoming. Our goal is to become like Jesus. This is why God sent His Spirit into our lives, gave us His Word, and put us in a community to help us in this journey.
Sometimes we say or we hear people saying something like this: “This is the way I am!”, “I am not going to change!”, “This is the way I am, take it or leave it!” And sometimes we say or hear people saying something like this: “I can’t stand him/her!” or “That brother/sister is unbearable!” These expressions show two wrong attitudes that should not exist in a redeemed Christian. The first one is the acceptance that we are in certain way, we were born like that, or we grew up like that and we will not change. That is not true, the Spirit and the Word of God are working in us to change us everyday. The other wrong attitude is when we are unwilling to put up with some of our brothers and sister. We are in the same body and we need to learn how to live with each other.
This is what the apostle Paul said to the Ephesians: “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:32.” Paul uses two words here that should help us in this whole process: Kind and Compassionate. The word kind means: “useful, profitable; good, agreeable, easy, as a yoke; gentle, benign, kind, obliging, gracious, good in character, disposition, and virtuous.” And the word compassionate means: “Sympathetic, pitiful, and tender-hearted.”
How can we do that? There are a few steps that will help us in that journey. The first one is to understand that these kinds of attitudes is not natural to us, we have to learn and to cultivate them. This is what Paul says to us: “Now about brotherly love we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other. 1 Thessalonians 4:9.” He also wrote this: “ We ought always to thank God for you, brothers, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love every one of you has for each other is increasing, 2 Thessalonians 1:3.” And finally he wrote this: “May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you, 1 Thessalonians 3:12.”
The second step that we need to take is to understand that we “owe” this to our brothers and sisters. The word owe means obligation to pay. This is what Paul wrote: “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. Romans 13:8.” We have an obligation to be kind and compassionate to one another.
The third step is to guard our mouth. Nobody can see your heart and thoughts, but they can hear your words. This is what Jesus asked His disciples to do: “Stop grumbling among yourselves, Jesus answered”, John 6:43. The word grumbling means: “to speak privately and in a low voice, mutter, to utter secret and sullen discontent, express indignant complaint, and to murmur.” If we can discipline our mouths we will be very successful in this process.
Finally, Paul tells us that the church can help us in this journey. We need each other. Brothers and sisters can help us to be kind and compassionate. They also can help us to stop having wrong attitudes. This is what Paul wrote: “Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else, 1 Thessalonians 5:15.” He put part of the responsibility in the hands of the church. We are supposed to help our brothers and sisters to stop doing the wrong things and start being kind and compassionate to each other instead.
I know that some brothers or sisters are a pain in the neck, but they need to grow and you need to grow. Pray the Lord will enable you to be kind and compassionate to one another.
Have a blessed week,