Yesterday I was checking Facebook and I saw a post from a friend of mine (in a liberal Christian Denomination) rejoicing that someone had finally called “those hating conservatives” to task for their treatment of the poor etc. OK. Well and good. The conservative Christian churches have a poor track record in that area.
BUT there is a big difference between “rebuking someone in love” and a spirit of restoration and crowing because “they” finally got the scolding “they” deserve (whoever they are).
Jesus said ” A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” John 13:34-35
LOVE one another with God’s love. It’s so hard. Truly it is easier to love the homeless guy at the soup kitchen, who mutters, stinks, and tries to make out with someone in the bathroom than it is to love (speak well of, and respectfully to, trust) my brother or sister that I disagree with. But that is what we are commanded to do. Not called (though callings are pretty powerful) commanded. Commands in Scripture don’t have a fail option. They are to be obeyed. Period.
We are to love our brethren. The ones that God says are our brethren. The ones that will sit down with us at the marriage supper, and feast with us as we recount God’s amazing grace in stories spanning time and space. That brother that irritates you. That sister that whines about her life. That theologian whom you KNOW is 100% wrong. You are commanded to love him or her. Not tolerate. Love.
It’s a tall order, possible only by grace. What does that look like? And can it be exclusionary?