I am by nature an impatient man. As a retired Army First Sergeant, I am experienced in “making things happen.” Yesterday, our Minister of Students Andrew Bosak, preached from Ephesians 4:1-6. During the initial reading, I immediately came under conviction:
“I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.”
Verse 2 brought great conviction: “with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love.” It is amazing how Scripture and the Holy Spirit not only convicts us of our sins, but also prepares our hearts to receive a message.
Brother Andrew made a profound statement that all Christians, especially in the upcoming election year, need to keep central in our hearts. Andrew said, “We are in danger of allowing the political rhetoric to harden our hearts to the reality of the spiritual condition of the lost.”
I am very quick to post something to social media about the moral and social decay in America, but I can’t tell you the last time I prayed for someone’s salvation of whom I just commented. I am quick to describe why America has lost its way, but I am very negligent in lovingly showing the way to redemption.
That must stop.
What I am most lacking in spiritually is forbearance. The Apostle Paul instructed the Ephesians to bear one another. Paul himself struggled with this required Christian characteristic and he constantly reminded the early church of its importance:
“Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.” (Colossians 3:12-13)
Very few things bring out the uglies in a Christian than politics. Some of you may be thinking that is why you don’t get involved. Just because someone is mean to you doesn’t mean you’re exempt from performing your civic duties. Go back and read Matthew 5:11-12.
Nevertheless, many hurtful things are done and said by one Christian to another because of politics. One can almost understand the righteous anger because of someone’s support for abortion or Planned Parenthood, for example. However, even then, nay especially then, we must exhibit great forbearance.
But when someone with whom you worship or fellowship attacks you, tells lies about you, or deceives you because of political differences, that can be devastating.
Two things about that…
First, don’t be that person. It is so easy to find ourselves wrapped up in political arguments, allowing things to get out of control. It is very tempting to get revenge or make a political point at the expense of your opponent’s feelings. Scripture forbids this:
“Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.” (Romans 12:17-18)
Second, if you are on the receiving end of such treatment, this is where turning the other cheek comes in. Jesus taught us to overlook an insult. If you are dealing with a lost person, just remember that you are dealing with a lost person. I know, sometimes the remedy is right there in front of us.
If you are dealing with a fellow believer, keep in mind the commands of forbearance and longsuffering. This takes grace, and not just human grace but amazing grace.
You remember that amazing grace, you know that saved a wretch like me? That very same grace that allowed God to forgive your wretchedness is available to you and me to dispense to others.
The only question is will we obey?
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Copyright © 2015 David Jeffers