Confession time: this Journal entry was very difficult to write. By nature, i’m not the sort of person who enjoys or is usually comfortable with talking about personal matters; but here it is. i would appreciate any helpful comments concerning whether my point came across clearly; of course, you may not get why it’s such a big deal to me, and that’s totally fine. But i hope that my general sentiment is discernible. =)
One set of verses that has proven meaningful to me over the past months is Galatians 5:13-15: “You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather serve one another in love. The entire law is summed up in a single command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.” (NIV)
I think that last part is especially poignant; often times Christians will attack their brothers and sisters in Christ because of differing opinions on theological issues. If a person has beliefs contrary to the orthodox stance, other Christians will suggest that the “heretic” is not even saved, though they cannot know his heart. Denominations in the church can be especially guilty of going after each other’s throats, determined to prove that their stance is the correct one, while that of the other denomination must be unbiblical. These actions do not represent Christ-like love, and they tear down the people involved, causing pain, church splits, and confusion.
The problem of condemnation amongst believers can also apply to areas of personal standards. Many times I have witnessed situations where one believer is living in the freedom mentioned in the above verses, while fellow Christians judge and condemn that person for his or her choices. Sometimes I have been on the receiving end of that judgment; although it has been mild compared to many others, it is still one of the most destructive things that has happened to me.
We find, however, a resolution in the simple but profound command to love others. If a brother or sister in Christ has different standards on modesty, or drinking, or music, we must love. When we encounter someone who views a theological topic with an opposing perspective, we must love. If a believer is living in actual sin, it is not our place to pass judgment; even then, we are called to love. John 13:34-35, “A new command I give to you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”