Some of my least preferred people to devote a great deal of time around are 1) holier-than-thou Christians and 2) arrogant people who think they can do life just fine without Christ. Oddly enough, these two types of folks have several things in common: lack of humility, an under-appreciation of who is really in charge, and a sharper view of other people’s sin rather than their own. They seem to think they have all the answers. Not only to other people’s difficulties; but oftentimes, blame others for their own glitches. Whether they confess “your problem” to you face-to-face or go about it in the more socially polite form of gossip, the issue still remains clear: there is clearly an issue of who knows best, and in the case of these types, they believe they know best.
2 Timothy 2:23-24 says: “Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.”
So, how do we love the haughty Christian or the self-sufficient worldly individual? How do you go about loving someone who whispers about you under their breath while at the same time shoots you a big smile? Or how do you respond to a person who speaks to your sin but they themselves harbor bitterness and pretentiousness?
The answer: You love as Jesus loves. Sincerely. Not as you love, but as he loves. You love within healthy boundaries: his will – his way. God provides boundaries set forth throughout the Bible. His boundaries afford protection and instruct us as to how to maintain self-control, how to give and receive grace, how to remain near to his truths so we do not drift into sin, and how to have an eternal (rather than temporal) focus.
More importantly, to love as Jesus loves is to be only on his father’s side. To not concern yourself so much with who is “saying this” and “doing that” — God never once promised to remove every backstabber, annoying fool, or hypocrite from your life. If you are really going to be real, you have been a backstabber, annoying fool and a hypocrite at some point in your life. Jesus is more concerned with you being in likeness with his father’s character than he is with you fretting around trying to be right or being busy proving others wrong. Just lean into the Lord, my friend. Rest in his presence, peace and strength.
In the end, only his opinion matters. We should emulate Jesus’ character when we interact with others. Thankfully, scripture gives us a great outline to follow:
Romans 12:9-13 in the NIV translation says, “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.”
SGLY, dear readers.
(Smile, God Loves You.)
Tiffany Kaye Chartier is a Christian writer, an opinion columnist and a fine art photographer. To submit feedback on SGLY or to offer a specific topic idea, please contact Chartier at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Chartier on Facebook: facebook.com/tiffanychartier and Twitter: @tiffanychartier.