FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL
THE WAY FORWARD IN CHRIST
UNITY AND PEACE – 4
September 11, 2015
1 Timothy 1:1-14
We will always find something to criticize about our brethren. However, while we are of course not blind to the shortcomings of others, we should not allow our thought-about criticism to become destructive, to lead to words and deeds that lead to conflict and disunity.
How do we avoid that? Simple. When becoming critical of others, examine your own situation first. Criticize yourself first. “Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own?” (Lk 6:41). If we are honest with ourselves, we will discover that it is not so much the other person who has to change, but rather we do.
Now supposing you honestly find yourself in the right and the other person in the wrong, what then? Then you stop comparing yourself to the other person, but now look to Jesus. “I keep the Lord always before me” (Ps 16:8a). Then, rather than becoming self-righteous, we become aware that we too are sinners, and that the Lord is patient with us, tolerant of us, forgiving. Then we can see rightly how to deal with those we were critical of in the first place.
Those who become intolerant of others, who gossip about and malign others, who say they cannot forgive, are those who do not have an intimate relationship with Jesus. For if they did, they would act very differently. Those who humble themselves, who “love from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith” (1 Tm 1:5), who even though they are in the right might give in just to preserve relationships, are those who have the wisdom and heart of God. “I bless the Lord who counsels me; even at night my heart exhorts me.” (Ps 16:7).
While the former rant and rage, the latter are at peace. Even though they are maligned, they try to continue to love. The former have lost their peace and even threaten peace and unity in the body, the latter simply rest in the Lord. As such, “with him at my right hand, I shall never be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad, my soul rejoices” (Ps 16:8b-9a). And they continue to be peacemakers in the community.
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