When Sheep Bite : When Christian “Friends” Hurt You
It’s a tale as old as time, Christian’s hurting other Christian’s. I see it as the dark side of Christianity and no one is really talking about it in truth. The funny thing is Christian’s know the cure, if they are reading their Bibles, and yet they continue down the path of least resistance and sin. Jane doesn’t like Sue, so Jane talks poorly about her, then Jane realizes she has said to much about Sue and then BLAMES SUE for her sinful talk. Bob thinks Pastor Gary is prideful and instead of working with him and exhorting him (and even praying for him and asking God to work in his life!), Bob leaves that church for another one. The disobedience to Scripture and the vicious cycle of church hopping just continues on, day in and day out in Christendom.
What is a Christian to do? How do we become one in unity? How can we serve one another and love one another well? The answers are found in Scripture and a fresh, BOLD look into them is what believers need to be doing. If I am honest, I don’t like dealing with difficult people and when I think about them, I don’t always do so Biblically. This blog post is written to myself in hopes that I will serve Christ and others better after writing it.
What’s A Christian to Do?
We can’t love others well if we don’t love our Savior well first. Loving Christ, above all else, is a daily decision and it takes a commitment to Him, His Word, and a desire to obey Him. I can’t help but go to 1st John to exhort myself in this. I studied 1 John with a group of friends years ago and it made profound impact on me. It is a great book to help you learn to love Jesus and understand His love for you!
Love Christ well by repenting of your sins to Him. This is something we neglect to do. Why? Because we are prideful and think we are “good”. No one is good BUT the Lord God. 1 John 9-10 ” If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.” Repentance is a beautiful gift the Father allows us to do before Him through Christ. Getting along well with others means you take care of your sins before God before you go after another Christian.
What is unity?
Unity by definition is, the state of being united or joined as a whole. Being unified as believers does not mean you have to have the same convictions as others, but that the fundamentals of the faith are shared. We are unified in the gospel. We are unified in Jesus Christ as our Savior. We are unified in that the Bible is the infallible Word of God. We are unified in the things that are non-negotiable.
Unity in how one other dresses? No! Unity in what is appropriate to watch? No! Unity in how we view sports? No! These are personal convictions, therefore these are left to each individual, the Lord and His word, and personal sanctification. We must all personally work out our salvation, “in fear and trembling” (Phip. 2:12). Be unified in the essentials of the faith! Don’t give up on a sister who just has not “arrived” to the same thinking as you on a non-essential. R.C. Sproul, a man who I respected greatly, smoked. I did not stop listening to him because I thought he was a reprobate for this. Smoking is a personal conviction, not an essential. Be patient with one another.
1 Thessalonians 5:14-18 “We urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone. See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another and for all people. Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
Serve One Another and Love Well
I know it’s hard to serve and love well. I certainly don’t do this perfectly (just ask my husband and children). I want to just stay home, read a book in my hammock and let the world pass me by. This is NOT what God’s Word tells us to do. His word tells us to SERVE and LOVE one another. Don’t go hiding in your hammock!
Jesus is the example we need to follow. He was the PERFECT one and so we turn our eyes to Him and His Word for direction. Matthew 16, shows us, he felt compassion on the people, Matthew 23, He longs to gather His people like chicks under His wings, and the plethora of healing that He did show His heart of service. This is what we think of first when we think of how Jesus served.
BUT sweet sister, those acts were just the tip of the iceberg. He served the greatest by His coming. He left His throne and heaven to come as a poor babe. He came to live, serve and ultimately DIE for you and me. He was the suffering servant Savior , in Isaiah 53, who came to serve us the most through His death and resurrection so that we might be reconciled to Him. (Please read that chapter in Isaiah and meditate on it. Can you or I even attain that kind of service to one another? The answer is no, if you are wondering, but we can practice that kind of service and love)
Love one another and “Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ” Galatians 6:2. Love is not just words. It is 1 Cor 13 kind of stuff. I honestly struggle to read 1 Cor 13 because I see myself in that mirror of God’s word and find myself LACKING! Love is not easy, but it is the greatest. As I wrote this, I was convicted of my poorly executed love to Christ and to others. It is really difficult to self evaluate but does cause me to be conformed to Christ even more and for that I am thankful.
You may be struggling with other christian’s right now. You might be feeling like giving up on religion and church, I understand your hurt, BUT don’t give up. Christ came for the ungodly, and that is all of us. We have grace for a reason! It is the kind of grace that pardons and cleanses us from sin because we are NOT able to love Christ without Him helping us love Him. We are all sheep that go astray, are you not thankful for the Shepherd who keeps you safe in His care and comes after you when you struggle or stray?
My friend, sheep bite, but the Savior calls you to love those who have hurt you, gossiped about you and ignored you. Pray for these people. Love these people, because Christ loves you.
DISCLAIMER: IF YOU ARE IN AN ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP, marriage, dating or friendship, I am NOT saying you have to be in it, I am saying to love them. Love sometimes puts up real boundaries to protect you (and children if you have them)