Jesus called us to follow Him, and this call has implications not only in our personal life but also in our life in community. He did not call us to follow Him alone, He called others to walk with us in this journey. Some of them were called way before us, and they are in a more mature stage of their faith. Some of them were called after us, and they are in an infant stage of their faith. No matter which stage in which you find yourself, we you will need to learn how to live with people in different stages in their relationship with the Lord.
During this series we learned what we are supposed to do, but in this last article of the series I would like to share with you some things that we are NOT supposed to do to each other as brothers and sisters. Here are a few of them:
Complain – Some people have the ability to find defects and mistakes in everything and everyone. For them nothing is perfect or right, at least from their point of view. When they see something that someone is doing in a different way they start murmuring and grumbling. Jesus and James asked the disciples to stop doing that, “Stop grumbling among yourselves,” Jesus answered. John 6:43.” “Don’t grumble against each other, brothers, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door! James 5:9.”
Lie – The next thing that should not be found among us is dishonesty. We should always tell the truth and be truthful. If you cannot say the truth do not say anything, but do not lie. The apostle Paul tells us that lying is part of our old life, the life before Christ, and because of that it should not be in our lips. “Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices Colossians 3:9.”
Compete – The third thing that will damage our life in community is competition. We compare our life, family, church, and other things and people with others and we want to have it better, bigger, etc. Unfortunately this is a real problem for Christians today. Paul wrote to the Galatians and had this to say to them: “Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. Galatians 5:26.”
Judge – The other attitude that hinders our spiritual growth in community is judgment. We believe that we are right and our brother and sister is wrong, or that they are not even our brother and sister. This attitude blocks us from having fellowship with others that are not in the same stage of the Christian journey that we think we are. “Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way. Romans 14:13.”
Dispute – How many churches do you know that started because of some kind of dispute? How many brothers and sisters left a congregation because of disputes, altercations, and uncharitable tempers? How many people left the faith because the way they were treated was totally wrong. This is not something new. Look at what Paul wrote to the Galatians: “If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. Galatians 5:15.”
Slander – If we are supposed to live in community we should guard our tongue. We should be careful with what we say and how we say it. We do not need to agree with everything that our brothers and sisters say or do, but we should be extremely careful how we react and express our opinions. Evil speaking, slander, and backbiting should not be part of our behavior since we are disciples of Christ. This is what James wrote: “Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. James 4:11.”
So, brothers and sisters, let us live in community and do to one another what Jesus and His apostles asked us to do.
Have a blessed week,