34 Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22, NIV)

{or if you’re in a law kind of mood):

Leviticus 19:18 NIV “‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.

Why do you think Jesus made “love your neighbor” so high up on the list of stuff we should do?

I mean, why didn’t He say, “Second guess your neighbor?” Why didn’t He suggest we “tear down our neighbor’s efforts?” or “hurt your neighbor as he has hurt you?” Why didn’t He command us to “make assumptions on your neighbor based on what you hear/observe/read on Facebook and tell it to the world like fact?” Or why didn’t He leave us instructions to “ignore your neighbor, her need, her pain, her cries for help, because they make you uncomfortable or because she isn’t as good as you are?”

I’ve seen a lot of talk lately about the last days, about Christians taking a stand, about proclaiming absolute truth without regard to “political correctness.”  That all sounds good. But when well-meaning Christians use those ideas as weapons, they circumvent their own efforts.

I’ve even seen Christians accuse other Christians of NOT being Christians because they choose a different way of delivering the gospel truth. Talk about a time-waster. While you’re accusing a brother or sister in Christ of doing it wrong, your other 50 or 500 or 1500 Facebook friends are watching you, perhaps lost and dying, and seeing that you don’t have any of the love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, or self-control that is supposed to be evident in those living for Christ.

What happens to them, when the Jesus they see is an angry, bitter time-waster picking fights with other Christians?

Your mama might have said, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”

But much more specific and productive instruction comes from your Heavenly Father:
“You have one Master, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who rules over all, works through all, and is present in all. Everything you are and think and do is permeated with Oneness…But that doesn’t mean you should all look and speak and act the same. Out of the generosity of Christ, each of us is given his own gift…God wants us to grow up, to know the whole truth and tell it in love—like Christ in everything. We take our lead from Christ, who is the source of everything we do. He keeps us in step with each other. His very breath and blood flow through us, nourishing us so that we will grow up healthy in God, robust in love.” (from Ephesians 4, The Message)

For the love of God, can we stop the snarkfest, the accusations, the time-wasting assumptions and campaigns? Stop picking battles with your brothers that will only result in everyone’s demise.

Christians, if you’re choosing a hill to die on, let it be Calvary.

~

I am really, deeply grateful to be attending a Pentecostal  church that commemorates Lent. We had a sweet, quiet time of family communion tonight, and when we came home, I logged out of Facebook and deleted all my browser history. I’m not saying I won’t check or post occasionally, but I do know that in this season of reflection and sacrifice, I want my life to get a little more quiet so I can hear what God might be speaking to my heart. As a writer and a reader, words that people share mean so much to me, but it’s occurred to me lately that I have given too much power to words. For the next 40 days, may my meditations stay on the power in the Blood.

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