Above all things have intense and unfailing love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins [forgives and disregards the offenses of others] (1 Peter 4:8- Amplified).
The Holy Spirit spoke to me during our worship time last night and said, You should be as committed to one another as I am to you. We are members one of another according to 1 Corinthians 12. We should endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace according to Ephesians 4:3.
The Father is absolutely committed to us! He drew us while we were still in sin. He has given us the Holy Spirit as our helper and guide. He has promised that He will never leave us nor will He forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). He has declared that nothing can separate us from His love (Romans 8: 38-39). He has dedicated Himself to our care as our Shepherd. When we mess up, the Father does not forsake us. He woos us back to Himself by the Holy Spirit and has made promises that if will repent and confess our sins, He will forgive us and help us!
Do we do this with each other in the family of God? Church should be a safe place; a place where you are encouraged when you are down, challenged when you get spiritually lethargic, and loved unconditionally.
The Father is calling you to love your brother and sister in Christ even when they do things that ruffle you feathers. If you attend small groups or if you volunteer in a local church regularly, you are going to find our quickly that no one is perfect. You’re going to see faults, missteps, failures, and flesh! And others are going to see that you don’t do it right yourself all the time. We all are imperfect people in the process of changing.
That’s where love comes in. Love covers a multitude of sin. It forgives and disregards the offences of others. Too many times in America we have a consumer mentality when it comes to church life. If you don’t please me or if you do something I don’t like, I’ll just leave and go somewhere else. This kind of attitude stunts spiritual growth and reeks of spiritual dysfunction!
Here’s what I’ve found out about how God deals with my life. He often places me with people who don’t do life the way I do it. They don’t think the way I do. They mess us frequently. And so do I! And then He challenges me to love them just where they are. I’ve learned that every relationship I have is a test. How I relate to others proves what is in me. It shows my utter need for God and His love. Relationships show me what I’m really like. They bring to the surface my personal weaknesses! They help me to learn that without Jesus I can do nothing!
How I handle disappointments and differences with others determines in a large way my spiritual growth and maturity. Can I challenge you today to assess how you’re doing relationally in your local church? Do you accept others, flaws and all, without criticalness? Can you deal with your disappointment in others with isolating yourself from fellowship, or with inwardly critiquing their every move? Can you refrain from judging for the sake of love?
Perhaps John said it best in 1 John 4: 20-21:
If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a Christian brother or sister, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see? And he has given us this command: Those who love God must also love their Christian brothers and sisters.