our perfect example
I John 3:12 - "Do not be like Cain who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother's were righteous." and greed and the like; things that cause us to treat our fellow family members in Christ so badly sometimes; OFTEN in some cases! Take the time to read the whole passage in I John 3:11-24. It paints a picture of what it is SUPPOSED to be as we love our brothers and sisters in Christ.
How many of us are guilty of making what would be construed as an INSINCERE apology? (that's called a lie my friends) Is it even an apology? Or is it just mere words that sound good for the moment? The whole thing about loving each other sincerely is to BE SINCERE. IF we offend our brother, in order to keep what God asked us to do, MAKE IT RIGHT...MAKE IT REALLY RIGHT. sigh...we know this! Saying you are sorry is only PART ONE of making things right. The anatomy of a good apology is to 1. go to the person and admit what you did and say you are sorry (that's called accountability), 2. say WHY it was wrong (acknowledging that you understand WHAT you did to the person you wronged, and then say 3. WHAT you are going to do to make it right...and then 4. DO THAT. This is how we love each other sincerely! The man who stole from his brother was not sincere, he was not in the right in that he didn't follow through.
We have ALL been guilty at one time or another of not loving our brothers and sisters in Christ. Our selfish, jealous, greedy, self important selves get in the way, but it is not an excuse...we are not free to continue. Romans 6:1 - "What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?" NO, we know that...we are to MAKE IT RIGHT! We should all be embarrassed when we hear the excuse so many offer for those who are not loving the way they should "That's just the way they are". What is that? There are no excuses for bad behavior, there is only the obligation we have to each other. I'm lead back to Matthew 18:15...read it folks...it is OUR responsibility to our brother. Yes, we have commandments too. Are we servants to each other? Do we encourage each other? Do we live in unity? Each person is responsible for his or her own behavior, are we listening to what God asked of us, or are we taking care of US at the expense of another person in our church family? You do not know how far and long damage goes in a person who needs love when you do NOT correct your sin! Do not be the one who God will call you to account for sin against your brother you did not correct when we are all called to our judgement! We have consequences for our behavior my brothers and sisters. Read Matthew 7:2 - "For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." Scary!!
The church is at war with sin. There are horrible, hurtful, dangerous things out there that we are supposed to have EACH other to help us navigate this life...WHAT ARE WE DOING TO EACH OTHER? WHY are we making it harder to go out and fight the evil in this world? We have a job here in this world to find and help as many as we possibly can come to God so they can have an eternal salvation. How much harder to we make it for each other when so much backbiting and gossip and hating and ugliness exist within our own family of God? Galatians 5:17 - "The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions."
Take some time to read a bit about what God expects us in our love of the brethren. BE HONEST with yourself, let yourself hop in the fire and be made stronger, more like Christ. We ALL need to reflect on our own sins and mistakes and CORRECT them for the good of unity. STOP making excuses for yourselves and others who are at fault...STAND UP and be courageous...STOP and learn...this is for us ALL....for no one is free of guilt...we are ALL in this together...wouldn't it be better if we were unified in LOVE instead of these character traits that are from satan?
Romans 12:10 - love each other with GENUINE affection. Galatians 5:13 - serve one another humbly in love. Romans 14:15 - act out of love for your brother if they are distressed about a freedom you have. and the same principle in I Corinthians 8:13. Romans 13:7 - give everyone what you owe them. Phil 2:3 - do nothing from selfishness...value others above yourself. I Thes. 4:9 - you are taught by God to love each other. Hebrews 13:1 - keep on loving each other as brothers and sisters. I Peter 1:22 - Obey the truth so you have sincere love of the brethren. I Peter 2:17 - show proper respect. II Peter 1:7 - and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. I John 2:10 - if you love your brother you live in the light. And on, and on, and on. There is much more...study, learn, correct YOURSELF, love each other...without it we are not OK with each other or God.