The church has a reputation for killing its wounded. Whether or not this is true, love is often lacking. This is clear to us all. We are sometimes the victim, but probably as often, we are a perpetrator
Philippians 2:1-4 (ESV)
2 So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, 2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
I have given much thought to love and how it should play out in the life of the believer. The church has a history full of grace, beauty, love, and sacrifice. The church has also experienced dark times of persecution and conflict which were perpetrated because of both large and small differences interpretations, theology and traditions. Many lost lives during these religious wars. Granted, much of the conflict was about power, but much was not. We live in a world where Christianity thrives under different umbrellas of doctrine and worship style. Is this OK? Do we all have to be the same? What does it mean if we are not? Are we opponents? For too long, we have held the view that we are opponents, rather than allies. Lets change this.
What are we to do? I don’t know all things about loving others, but I know some things. God has been challenging me to see love as the context or environment of all that I do. I can disagree with someone, but am I treating them in a loving manner. I can speak truth, but when I do, am I inviting them to God or am I pushing them away. Conflict is inevitable. As believers, we do not all have to agree with each other on all things. We can have conflict. What is true, however, is that we are not to do conflict like the world does conflict. We are to treat those with whom we disagree with love, respect, and dignity. To call names, wish someone evil, or try to humiliate is not the way of Christ. Love is the way. Love that respects despite disagreement. Love that invites another to God. We are to have the “mind of Christ”. It is an attitude of humility. We should be humble, treat each other as Christ would, and remember that we are not at war with each other.