show me where I have been wrong…. (Job 6:24).
It is not far from us to spend the majority of our time pointing out where someone else has been wrong, but spending very little time pointing the finger back at our own selves. It is difficult to admit when we are wrong. Sometimes, we get so caught up in our anger over how someone else has treated us that we neglect the part that we played in the matter.
We chew on the matter for far too long. We store up hatred, bitterness, and resentment in our heart towards that person with every ill thought we entertain. We play their grievances over and over again in our hearts like a broken record. We pray for them, but sometimes only in spite. We think about them, but only to stew over our pain.
When this type of behavior invades the church it is sure to cause swift destruction. When God’s people have no grace for one another the message we send into our hearts and into the world is that we don’t know what true, unconditional love really is. We say we love our brother or sister, but if that was really true, we would wash away the sins done to us. We would set them free from how they have hurt us through forgiveness. We would have hard conversations and not allow sin to have its way, causing destruction in our relationships any longer. We would walk with the Lord Jesus in grace.
I am learning what it means to have grace for my brothers and sisters in Christ. I am learning, sometimes slowly, what it means to love God’s church. I have wrongfully used God’s church as a place to receive approval, and in the past, even believed her to be my enemy and not my friend.
The Devil is crafty. He is full of deception. He does not love us and he certainly does not want any kind of unity in God’s church. He plants destructive, divisive thoughts in our hearts. God calls us out to deep waters and Satan hopes to drown us there, destroying our faith by whispering doubt into our souls.
The division within the church often comes from a lack of humility within the individuals who make up her body. Our lack of love, concern, and care for one another has made us embittered people who burn bridges and do not seek to repair them. Could it be that restoration is at hand for us if we would just start pursuing the Lord and His heart for one another? Could it be that we would see love spring up in the church if we would seek to repair the things broken by sin? Do we not want the same kind of grace God gives us to be extended from others too? Why then, will we not give it out ourselves? Maybe its because we don’t understand grace. Maybe its because we need new hearts and minds through the Lord Jesus Christ.
Oh Lord, help us! Help us to understand and practice deep abiding love for your people! Help us to grow up in you, not tear each other down through our own stubborn rebellion. Lord, make us more like you. We have a long ways to go, myself included. I need your grace. I want to practice and shower it upon others. Forgive me when I lack supernatural love because I live in the shallowness of my own heart.