• Why are Christians so hard on each other?
• Why do we fight or treat each other with so little real love?
• Have we forgotten whom we are hurting?
“That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it. Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.” —1 Corinthians 12:25-27 KJV
A sister in Christ in a local church we know about is a great source of frustration to some of the Christians there. She really wants things done her way; and it seems that if something is not done her way, then it can’t be right. Almost everything the other believers do seems wrong to her, and she has been very willing to say so. With her constant criticism, it has been helpful for those believers to go to the Lord and lay the issues before Him.
A dear brother encouraged me some years ago when I was going through a time of severe criticism to look at these comments constructively, and prayerfully place them into different categories:
Criticisms that are fair, requiring my attention and encouraging a change with the Lord’s help;
Comments that are not valid, which can be laid before the Lord and then forgotten; and
Statements leveled against me needing further evaluation, looking to the Lord for discernment.
Doing this helps to sort things out and keeps the stress factor to a reasonable level. But what if the person continues to irk [aggravate] me something awful?
This kind of behavior could cause a schism in the church – and that would be very wrong! We should be caring for each other so that there will be no division in the body (1 Cor. 12:25). Furthermore, all of us are encouraged to “live peaceably with all men” (Rom. 12:18).
In the case mentioned about the sister in Christ, we might think that if we would criticize her – tearing her apart and giving her some of her own medicine – then maybe she would realize what she is really like and change her behavior. But trying something like this would only satisfy our flesh, build ourselves up in the eyes of others and bolster our pride. That would be a total failure of the three deadly tests of the Christian: the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life; things that are not of the Father, but of the world (1 Jn. 2:16). It is important to remember that as true Christians, as children of God, we must do things according to a higher standard!
Whom Would We Be Attacking?
When a non-Christian attacks a believer, he or she would be hurting the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. That’s an easy one to figure out. This is what the Lord said to Saul in Acts 9:4, when from heaven He addressed the misguided zealot, “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me?”
However, if a Christian attacks another believer, it goes even further than that. There are two things we need to recognize:
Each of us is a member of the body in Christ: “we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another” (Rom. 12:5). That means if we attack a fellow believer, we are actually attacking ourselves. It’s like my hand cutting my toe. That would hurt me and cause a dysfunction in my body. We should remember this very important point: “Whether one member suffers, all the members suffer with it” (1 Cor. 12:26). When a Christian hurts a fellow believer, even if the perpetrator does not feel it directly, we and the other members will suffer a hurt, discomfort or some inability to function properly as a healthy body.
Furthermore, not only are we one body in Christ, as noted above, but we are all, each one of us, a part of the body of the Lord Jesus here on earth (1 Cor. 12:27). That adds a very serious consideration to any attack against a brother or sister in Christ. For instance, when we accost a believer in any way (physically, emotionally or socially), even one that “irks me something awful,” we are actually attacking the Lord Jesus Christ. He, the head in heaven, could also say in this case, “Saul, Saul (or put your own name here), why are you hurting Me?”
A Concluding Thought
These words have not specifically answered the “hows” of dealing with an irksome brother or sister in Christ. Nor have they really addressed the first two questions at the beginning of these pages:
Why are Christians so hard on each other?
Why do we fight or treat others with so little real love?
But they do answer the question: Have we forgotten whom we are hurting? When we attack one another we are hurting ourselves and, of greater importance, we are hurting the Lord Jesus, our Savior. Remembering this should help us to deal more carefully with our fellow believers, especially those that irk us.
And that would help us to do things in our daily lives to the higher standard, God’s standard!
By Hank Blok
is not only to preside in our hearts, but it is to be enjoyed in the Christian company; for to this we have been “called in one body.” Oneness of the body requires peace between the members if it is to grow with the increase of God. Further, if there is peace in the heart, there will be thankfulness to God. Thus, if marked by grace, love and peace, the beautiful character of Christ will be reproduced in His people. In the midst of all circumstances we are to give thanks.
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