We are all imperfect human beings, fallible and prone to sin—and that is why Christlike love is so important in the church. Because we are imperfect, we must learn to accept one another and tolerate one another in all our many imperfections. Because we are imperfect, we must learn to love one another with genuine agape love. Because we are imperfect, we must learn to forgive one another. And because we are imperfect, we must hold one another accountable.
The culture around us embraces a false notion of tolerance and love that says, "If you love somebody, you have to accept all their sins, their character flaws, and their godless lifestyle. You must never correct them, never rebuke them, never challenge them, never encourage them to repent and live righteously. Love means tolerating whatever anyone does, including their sinful and destructive behavior."
God's Word teaches that admonishing one another in a spirit of humility is actually a demonstration of Christian love.
That's the world's notion of love—and if you violate that notion, if you confront or rebuke someone for a lifestyle of sin, suddenly you will become the bad guy, the bigot, the hater, the reactionary, the extremist. According to the world, the out-and-proud sinners are good, and the godly are evil. Right is wrong, and wrong is right. We are living in Orwellian times.
But God's Word teaches that admonishing one another in a spirit of humility is actually a demonstration of Christian love. As someone once said, "If you love, you level." Paul calls this "speaking the truth in love" (Ephesians 4:15). Paul is not telling us to go around and correct and confront our fellow Christians for every little thing they do wrong.
But if someone is straying from the Truth or wandering from the faith, if someone is engaging in a lifestyle of sin and self-destruction, we should love that person enough to sit down, reason, pray, and even weep with that person over the tragedy of sin. That's what it truly means to love one another.
Prayer: Father, help me to internalize this precious concept of Christian love. May I seek to build up my brothers and sisters in Christ by pointing them to You and exhorting them to Christlikeness even as I receive the same counsel. May we all receive and give admonishment with humility and love, remembering the grace we have received. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
"Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other" (1 Thessalonians 5:12-13).
*Excerpt adapted from Fearless Living in Troubled Times by Michael Youssef © 2017. Published by Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, OR. Used by permission.