Loving Words

January 12, 2009

Today I listened to two sermons that I really needed to hear.  The first one was about using our words to build up instead of tearing down.  I’ve seen first hand how destructive gossip and slander can be to a church – how it can tear apart the body of Christ from inside out.  The church I went to in Colorado split around three times mainly because people didn’t have the guts to talk about their issues with others and instead chose to talk behind their backs.  The sad thing was that they weren’t the only ones who suffered; their kids were affected, pastors and people left discouraged and frustrated.  Our English and college ministry eroded away, and I personally feel like i totally missed out on an opportunity to grow spiritually during those precious years.  We can’t do this to ourselves.  We are emptying others’ ability to be used by God; we are making their words ring hollow and their actions seem hypocritical.  We are making our own souls a place of constant doubt and skepticism.  If we want to talk ourselves to the grave, we must realize the repercussions it will have on those to whom we are held responsible.  If you are a teacher, realize how your words will affect your students.

Then why do we do it?  Why do we, whether knowingly or unknowingly, talk behind other people’s back? Sure, there are many excuses.  But the bottom line is that we like to do it.  We like to sin, to feel superior, to be in position of power over others.  And how friggin messed up is that? For this temporary twisted pleasure we hurt the very body of Christ that He died for.  Do we realize that we are piercing His sides by our thoughtless and malicious words? If we have an issue with someone, we bring it to that person.  That’s how Jesus told us to do it. It’s simple as that.  Anything outside of that isn’t fueled by love but by fear.

Which brings me to love.  Past couple years, I’ve been reminded over and over again of the centrality of love in Christian doctrine and life.  I was reminded today again of how we must love others; how loving God must by necessity flow outwards to love for our neighbors.

And it’s always so messy.  Loving others means you get entagled in their poop, that you bear their burdens, and hurt when they hurt.  Love always means making it easier for others to love God. Love always means finding excuses to become involved with others.  “I was in the area, so…” but you really mean that you’re willing to go wherever they need to go.  Love always means putting yourself in a position of humility to be criticized and corrected by others.   In our society, passion is outlawed.  But I hope that this is not true of Christians, that we love with much zeal.

Yes, it’s so friggin hard and gets so messy, because we mess up so many times and our words aren’t fueled by love, but… don’t give up. When Christ loved up, it cost Him His life and resulted in a big bloody embrace.  Be willing to be misunderstood even by those who are on your side.  Jesus’ family thought he was demon-possessed; His disciples thought He was going to restore  a political kingdom.  God knows.  He knows that people will call you names and misunderstand you and slander you. He went through the same thing.  But Jesus loved them anyways.  Forgave them, because they didn’t know what they were doing.  Always defending them.  Always forgiving them.  Always loving them.  This is the way God loved us.  This is how we ought to love one another.


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