This issue is so on my heart today. I hope my words spark change.
We all need to be listened to at times. It is such a part of the human experience: to connect, really connect with other humans who are going through life. Without this we shrivel up inside. No man is an island indeed! Every person needs to know they are safe to express themselves and loved as they are, quirky though they may be, especially in the Body of believers as our world and enemy try to daily tear us down.
Sadly, I know a godly lady that has recently become the focus of much criticism in our circle. It seems many believers are quick to judge fellow brothers and sisters for petty differences, from the way they talk to their heart’s motives, and then speak out against them, slandering members of their (and our) own Body! I think many in the Body of Christ are deeply wounded by this very thing. Where we should embrace each other’s differences, we fiercely attack them instead and reap division.
I want people in the Body to be set free to be who God created them to be – not bound up by fear of attacks from other believers! I’ve heard people say that their fiercest opposition and harshest critics often came from the brethren (in the church, not in their family). Wow. This should not be so!
Beloved, we should be safest in the church. Our hearts should be free to express themselves and our gifts flowing freely so we bring about God’s will wherever we go. We should be one other’s greatest supporters, inviting others to liberty, not shame. No stone-throwing. Since when have wagging tongues become the norm within the Body? How will outsiders “know us by our love” if we bite and devour one another? Where is the Love among us that is the world’s hope?
Jesus speaks some powerful words about judgment in Matthew 7:
Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.
And Jesus’s brother James says this about the tongue:
Every species of beasts and birds, of reptiles and creatures of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by the human race. But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way.
And |sidebar| this I just found funny:
Instead, let our words be full of grace and truth! May we encourage unity, that we may receive the blessing of Psalm 133:
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is
For brothers to dwell together in unity!
It is like the precious oil upon the head,
Coming down upon the beard,
Even Aaron’s beard,
Coming down upon the edge of his robes.
It is like the dew of Hermon
Coming down upon the mountains of Zion;
For there the LORD commanded the blessing–life forever.