Pleasing God, Making Disciples of Jesus Christ

Real Christians In Real Fellowship

1 Peter 4:8 – Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.”


THEME OF THE DAY: REAL CHRISTIANS IN REAL FELLOWSHIP.  People hurt people. Yes, we live in a society of rampant physical domestic abuse, but I am referring to emotional hurt.  Family relationships are strained, people who once were so called “friends” now live in bitterness, even slanderous, with one another.  And the last place such pain should occur is among Christians, but it happens.  Too much.  Christians hurt each other.  We sin against each other.  We have disagreements which lead to spiritual and emotional upheaval in relationships.  Sadly, not a few Christians leave good, not perfect, Bible churches over strained relationships with other Christians.  Such behavior is never warranted and simply sends a confusing message to a world of hurting, Christ-less people.  The world looks at these types of Christians and says, “I guess Jesus isn’t enough since they cannot get along with one another.”  And what will always be true is that we may run or avoid a strained relationship in our families, at work, and in our churches, but the unreconciled heart goes with us.  A change of environment never reconciles, and often, the joy of the Lord is noticeably absent until the relationship is repaired.


As Christians, we are never to live in unreconciled relationships with other believers.  Nor are we to allow spiritual disagreements over non-essentials fracture relationships. Such allowance easily and almost always leads to gossiping, slandering, and using other unedifying speech when talking about those we disagree with.  But the reality is that we are people who still sin and it is inevitable, we will hurt and disappoint one another in some fashion.  If we want to live out true Biblical Christianity together, then be prepared for the hurt which will come.  Jesus suffered it with His disciples.  The Apostle Paul did with those who once labored with him.  And it will happen to us, but please, risk it. Get spiritually intimate with other Christians.  Plant deep roots in a church, do not be nomadic.  The joy of doing so and closeness with the Lord will far exceed the pain that comes when we learn to love as Christ commands and models.


So, what can we do to be real Christians in real fellowship with one another and strive for Christ-centered relationships void of offense and strain?  The Apostles Paul and Peter give us sound instruction to accomplish this end.

First, search our hearts before the Lord to ensure we have not left anything undone in reconciling with others. Paul wrote, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all” (Romans 12:18).  Notice the words “before the Lord.”  It is imperative we let the Lord affirm our responsibility and not our own understanding.  When relationships are tense, it is easy to get defensive and seek reconciliation on our terms.  Don’t go there.  Take the high ground of humility. It will ensure we have done all we can and remember, we are not responsible for the response of the other party.


The next instruction comes from the Apostle Peter. His instruction is in today’s scripture.  We may paraphrase and apply his words as “There are some offenses, and disagreements that we simply must let go. Don’t let them stew. Just let them pass.”   This is important. We are sinners. We sin.  And how quick we are to forgive and move on is the measurement of how much we are conforming into the image of Christ.


Remember how the Lord deals with us and learn to do likewise with one another. Even those who hurt us and sin against us.  That is what the Gospel does.  It not only forgives us but empowers us in all our relationships to where we should never be “at odds” with anyone, and especially in the body of Christ.


PRAYER: “Father, help me to be as quick to forgive and patient with people as you are with me.”


QUOTE: “To be slow to forgive and move on is a sign of selfishness and spiritual immaturity.”


In the affection of Christ Jesus,


Pastor Jim