There are times when I read scripture and am a little proud of myself, thinking yes… I’m doing that right. Unfortunately, there are probably more times when I read and think… oops, guilty of that one.
But that’s what’s amazing about the grace and love of Christ. My salvation is not dependent upon me getting it right all the time. I continue to read the scriptures as a way to grow my relationship with Him and be reminded of how He desires me to live. The works and actions are NOT part of my salvation, but they ARE part of me learning to live more like Christ, and show His love to others.
Thus began my time in the mirror this morning as I read the following…
“So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.” (2 Tim 2:22-26)
In this time of renewed controversy in our nation, it has become easy to get quarrelsome. As I witness evil occurring in our nation, watching the devil’s schemes continue to twist the truth and others fall for it, I get desperate and forget that I am supposed to patiently endure evil and that I’m supposed to correct with gentleness. These are both easier said than done.
But the truth is, that He is the one in charge. The devil WILL twist the truth and some hearts will fall to that twist while others will see right through it. However, we have to remember that His ways are higher than our ways. When He allowed Adam and Eve to fall to the twisted logic of Satan, it was part of His larger plan. The same goes for our time as well.
Not being quarrelsome does not mean stop speaking the truth, it means be more strategic and gentle in how you go about it. The line of ‘love the sinner and hate the sin’ is true but only as true as the actions behind it. If we really SHOW that kind of love and acceptance, without accepting the sins of others, we can truly represent Christ as He represented Himself almost 2,000 years ago. While He’s right that we have no place to ‘cast the first stone’ as we ourselves are sinners… we do have a responsibility to speak the truth about sin, admitting we’re all sinners saved by grace. But if we don’t speak the truth in love, then it serves no purpose.
So what does all of this mean to me personally? It means stop picking the fight. When confronted by false teaching, call it what it is but extend a welcoming hand at the same time. Yelling and screaming that the country is falling apart means nothing. Talking one on one with someone living a lie and truly loving them to the truth, now that’s showing Christ’s love.