Do We Have An Example for Love and Kindness?

Is there an example we could use to describe how Christians should get along – – even Christians with wide differences?

Sometimes it seems that we are widely divided and can’t get together. We struggle with matters of doctrine – – even those which are clearly biblical. Culture and customs seem to always divide us.

Is there an example we could or should follow to help us to deal gently and kindly with our brothers and sisters with whom we disagree?

Let me give you an example that might fit this scenario.

Paul, Luke, and his traveling companions taking an offering to the Jewish believers in Jerusalem may fit exactly what we are looking for (Acts 21:15-26).

They took an offering for three reasons. One, the Jewish believers were experiencing intense persecution. Many had lost their jobs. They were poor. Paul took up the offering and delivered it to Jerusalem because they needed help. But there is much more to it than that simple need.

Two, Paul wanted the Gentiles to show their gratitude for their Jewish roots. After all, the Gentiles were the beneficiaries of the message given to the Jews first. Gentiles owed a debt of gratitude to Jewish Christians.

Third, Paul wanted a symbol that would bring Jews and Gentiles together. He saw an opportunity to make a difference in the unity and harmony of the church.

We should use Paul and Luke as examples for how we relate to one another even when we disagree.

At the same time, James is also an excellent example. He received Paul and Paul’s Gentile converts with graciousness and gentleness. When James and the elders heard how God had worked among the Gentiles, they all gave praise to God.

This meeting was not easy. The Jewish believers had heard rumors that Paul instructed Jews who lived among the Gentiles not to keep the law. These were tense and difficult meetings, but Paul and James turned them into harmony and unity.

You and I can do the same by receiving brothers and sisters as genuine brothers and sisters and by loving them with the love of Christ. We can be kind, tenderhearted and forgiving as Scripture commands us (Ephesians 4:31-32).

We can live in humility and with the grace of Christ so that the name of Christ may be exalted in our actions.

One Comment

  1. Mark Graham
    Aug 23, 2018

    A timely message in these days of harsh division and hatred of one’s “enemies”–which means those who have different beliefs or political orientations. I pray that we (Christ followers) can be light and leaven by not returning evil for evil and by carefully avoiding hatred of any person or people group. Jesus breaks down the walls of enmity between people who are different in any way, and unifies us in an eternal family while preserving our lovely diversity. Without Christ, diversity and plurality become a fertile field for Satan to generate hatred and enmity between people groups, and persecution of the Church. We have seen this repeated ad nauseam in human history. Jesus’ command to love our enemies [Mt 5:44] has perhaps never been so apropos; and as difficult, perhaps, to obey. Hatred tends to evoke hatred.

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About Waylon

I am the senior pastor of First Baptist Church, Covington, Louisiana, a position that I have held since 1989.

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Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. — Ephesians 6:4 (NIV)