What kind of believer are you?
In this world where everyone does what is right in his/her own eyes, how are we supposed to live? Do we live by our standards? Do we live by the world’s standards? Do our standards and the world’s match each other? Do we live by biblical standards? Are we driven by the culture in which we grew up? Do we hold on to prejudices? Do we see people differently according to their wealth or poverty?
What kind of believer are you?
Christ calls each of us to follow him, and he calls us to obey him–unconditionally and without question–which makes it an absolute necessity to do so–there is no room or margin or interpretation on what Christ means.
Here are just a few really important commands:
Love one another.
Forgive one another.
Serve one another.
Love your enemies.
Look at John 13:34-35: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
How did Christ love those he taught and met? Did he love one race over another? Did he show partiality to the Pharisees over the common man? What he did, was consistent across the board. Those who came to him received an unconditional love in spite of the way they looked, acted, or talked. His response always was in keeping with God’s will and His truth. Where he needed to admonish (correct), he did. Where he needed to show mercy and compassion, he did. Where he needed to teach and train, he did. He did it without regard to who was in the audience. He loved with a love that is unconditional and without partiality.
James 2:1-7 says it this way: My brethren, do not hold your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ with an attitude of personal favoritism. For if a man comes into your assembly with a gold ring and dressed in fine clothes, and there also comes in a poor man in dirty clothes and you pay special attention to the one who is wearing the fine clothes, and say, “You sit here in a good place,” and you say to the poor man, “You stand over there, or sit down by my footstool,” have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil motives? Listen, my beloved brethren: did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? But you have dishonored the poor man. Is it not the rich who oppress you and personally drag you into court? Do they not blaspheme the fair name by which you have been called?
Overall, it is easy to love those who are like us in thought, word, and deed, but it is much harder to love someone who is different–different in dress, in actions, in wealth or poverty, in circumstances, and in understanding.
But God says–no partiality. So, here is your challenge…If you are showing partiality to different people, then you need to fix it. You cannot allow yourself to favor one over another. That means all are treated with dignity and respect. All are held to the same standards. All are loved, whether they are loveable or not.
We need to hold ourselves to the highest standard–that is Christ and his commands. That is compassionate accountability. If you find yourself getting irritated with those whom we are serving, ask yourself is it because you find you do not like them (remember, we are called to love them)? Is it a standard you have set for those you are serving, with an expectation for them to meet your standard, in order to receive your good graces? Put into action Christ’s command–Love one another…love your enemy…these are not choices… these are commandments, requirements, have to do, no margin for misinterpretation.
We give grace where it is due.
We show mercy as God showed us mercy.
We serve the people with a high standard, and we teach with love, mercy, hope and grace …no partiality.
(Submitted by Cord Cochran, Director of Men’s Ministries at City Union Mission)