Be United (In Love) / Be Imitators of Christ

coronavirus-china-hospital-united-build

These guys finishing the hospital in a matter of days reminds me of the Tower of Babel and what man can do together when united. Lots of people have figured it out. You’ll often hear there’s no “I” in team. Speaking of which you may have heard of United Airlines, Manchester United, United Health Care…to name a few.

When there is some conflict in my life, I am propelled to find a resolution because there are two things that are very dear to me, probably my most important “ambitions”, if I can call them that.

  1. To imitate Christ
  2. To hear from God

I like to speak often on the subject of love because of the examples God illustrated throughout the Bible. And I want to imitate Godly love as much as I can while on earth. The Bible says the greatest of these is love, and that God is love (1 John 4:8). God is holy (Revelation 4:8, 1 Samuel 2:2). I cannot imitate Christ in His holiness and ignore His mercy, ignore His long suffering etc. Then I would have no holiness at all (James 2:10). In my understanding, they are all involved with one another; God’s holiness, love, mercy, long suffering, justice (Galatians 5:22-23)… You try to keep from sin and forget to show others mercy and love without prejudice, can make you come across as self-righteous (Luke 18:11). We all know how God spoke to self-righteous people, particularly in the New Testament. See John 8:44. Yikes.

I am convinced that harboring ill against people in our lives is one of the quickest way to our own down fall. God told us specifically if we have something against our brother to go solve that issue first then come back to the altar (Matthew 5:23-24). That would seem that such emotions can hinder our interaction with God. And if we fail to follow that command then how can we do what He is about to say next? Or at least do it with a peace of mind without the anxiety/concerns of the broken relationship. You might say easy to say. Of course it is easy to say but hard to do. Easy to say that I want to build a company, but building one is very hard to do. Anything worthwhile hardly ever comes easy or without cost (2 Samuel 24:24). Except for the free gift of salvation to us. Except for Jesus, it costed Him a lot. So still, costly.

I sort of made it my business to pursue peace, even when the other person appears wrong or is wrong. It isn’t my job to punish anyone (Romans 12:17-19). I can let them know they have hurt me and pray for God’s strength to move on. After all, as long as l am here in this body, I will from time to time fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). And I will in turn need the other person to show me mercy. Don’t wait for an apology. I know, it is rough. When someone hurts us, we want them to come make the first move. But they may never. Our part is to protect our relationship with God at all costs; protect what He has blessed us with from being stolen from the enemy. Strife makes us more susceptible to sin. Sin can lead to a foothold, and a foothold can lead to a stronghold (Solomon 2:15). Let other people be responsible for their part. Don’t let your part be dependent on someone else first fulfilling their part. I am not talking about “forgiving and forgetting” in a situation like this. I am just talking about forgiving. Forgetting part has to do with trust. And trust once broken can only be rebuilt when both parties do their part. At least so it appears to me, as we do not have the ability to read hearts and unless we see a different pattern of actions  or attitude from the one who wronged us, trust is very hard to regain. But we can forgive and we ought to in fact. Joseph forgave his brothers (Genesis 50:20). Jesus forgave us.

Once we have done our part, God gives us the peace to move on even if the other person still hasn’t made amends (Matthew 10:14). But we will never get that peace unless we complete our part.

The more each of us strive for protecting our relationship with God by doing our part to live peaceably and so keeping with our quest to imitate Him, the more unity we can attain. The more unity we attain, the more we can do together for each other, and for others “outside our circle” who also need help. We can build/sustain our “hospital”, the Church, faster when we are united in thought and purpose; when we are united in love. And love isn’t just saying ‘I love you’, or giving gifts when times are good. Love involves sacrifice. And a relentless pursuit to bring about healing, even when the coughs of sickness seek to devour, kill and destroy. The sickness may have been brought about by bad diets, and an appetite for what may not be good. But get the hospital up and running anyways. Pursue peace, healing, forgiveness and in doing so, fulfill the ultimate purpose in being imitators of Christ.

Be imitators of God, therefore, as beloved children, and walk in love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant sacrificial offering to God” – Ephesians 5:1-2

“For I want you to know what a great conflict I have for you and those in Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh, 2 that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” – Colossians 2:1-3