Continued from here.
I have painted a sad picture of the Church this week, and I hope you are hearing the message. Church, we will be unable to stand if we don’t learn how to walk in unity. To do this, we must lay down our need to “be right” and prioritize being united with one another.
Now, I’m not saying that we never need to stand up for what is right. However, loving one another is more important than correcting one another. In fact, correction is best received within the context of love. To help me do this, I strive to live Micah 6:8:
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
It is my job to act/behave justly while loving mercy for you. So, when I see you stumbling in a particular area, I must behave as God calls me to act, “do right,” and love you even as you do not “do right.” Over time, as you see me walking in victory in an area in which you struggle, you will see how I act differently and experience different results. Over time, that will draw you toward changing your behavior.
For example, despite suffering severe and ongoing childhood abuse, I walk in emotional victory while many people who suffered less severe trauma do not. What’s different? I act justly by forgiving my childhood abusers while others continue to hate their wrongdoers. It’s not my place to judge those who are mired in emotional pain. I love them in their pain and draw them toward acting justly by acting justly myself. How would it benefit those who are walking in unforgiveness for me to break away from them because they are not “behaving right?” I can be unified with you, even as you live in unforgiveness, just as you are unified with me in my own areas of weakness. Each of us has a plank in our eye, so let’s not let the planks drive us apart. Let’s learn to walk together in unity, loving each other as we encourage one another to join together in pursuing God with our whole heart, mind, soul, and strength.
[Graphic: Cartoon of Grace smiling between the words “Group Hug.” Courtesy Bitmoji.]