Christian Love

I recently read a tweet from a Christian that touched me in a profound way:

We become more and more joyless and call it Jesus. More and more hateful and call it holiness. Less and less creative and call it maturity. We like fewer and fewer people and call it sanctification. We must think Jesus had the worst personality on earth.

I believe that on the whole Christians are well-intentioned, and because Christians have a profound fear of God (and hell) they are desperate for others to know Jesus and practise sound doctrine. But I also recognise that if we’re not careful, the fear of God can turn us into horrible people.

I have been guilty of rebuking people for what I have regarded as ungodly behaviour. When Christians do this we feel as though we are sticking up for the gospel and helping people. But let us always keep in mind what Jesus said about judging others:

And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. (Matthew 7:3-5 NKJV)

It seems to me that no two Christians believe exactly the same things. So we should be especially careful about rebuking one another, and aim instead to show love and kindness, care and understanding, and empathy, with our neighbours.

Surely the fruit of the Spirit, as we read about in Galatians, should be evident in the lives of believers if we are truly committed to living in a godly way:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23a NKJV)

Perhaps you have noticed yourself turning into a hard-hearted, joyless, uncreative, self-righteous Christian who is so eager not to be tainted by ‘the world’ that you find yourself living in a hateful bubble. If so, is it time to re-examine your faith and seek God afresh?

22 comments

  1. That was a very odd and presumptuous tweet. First in the fact that it has become so popular to throw the word “we” when you cannot say “we” for anything that describes many individual souls. There is no “we” except humanity as a whole. I’m a Christian and that person does not describe me, but may describe me or others at times. I think most of us are not very consistent in our emotions or actions as a rule. I have never been in the spirit and joyless at the same time. Some may deceive themselves into thinking they are right with God but as Jesus pointed out calling his name will not get them into heaven, but doing the will of his Father in Heaven. I don’t worry about theology much, but treat others as I wish to be treated.

    1. Hey Po’ Girl! I think it’s great that you treat others how you want to be treated. I think that rule (it’s known as the ‘golden rule’ in philosophy, isn’t it) is always a good way to test our actions and attitudes towards others.

      Thanks for your comment and God bless you! Steven 🙏🏻

  2. I made a comment recently to someone who was speaking out of anger at the unjust circumstances we are beginning to face. Tbough I agreed with his reasoning I cautioned him that his attitude looked very similar to those he was irritated with. We do have to be extremely careful and guard our hearts. It isn’t easy to love people sometimes. It takes Gods amazing grace.

    1. Hi Beehopper! I think that’s a great example of exactly what I’m talking about in the post. Christians can have a kind of ‘righteous anger’ that can in fact come across as quite nasty and hateful. I’ve experienced this and been guilty of this.

      The question is – is it possible to ‘defend’ the gospel without getting defensive? I’m not sure about this. Different Christians would differ on this – some would say it’s necessary, others would say it’s unkind. I’ve seen some fundamentalist Christians on YouTube who are angry to the point of being ‘bullies for God’ – can that really be okay?

      1. It is a gray area. We are defiantly called to love AND we are defiantly called to live righteous. Our world is getting darker and we may suffer for standing up for Christ BUT Jesus suffered so much more. I think love people enough to live and proclaim truth and love them enough to let them choose their life. We are only responsible for what God calls us to do. He says to work out own salvation with fear and trembling.

  3. I think I know what you mean.  But people who love the Lord and embrace His word are often misunderstood. For example, the zeal to warn people of falsehood comes from love.  Truth can be divisive, as everything can’t be the truth.  Jesus said, “The truth will set you free” ergo, falsehood will keep you in bondage.   I pray to stand on His word and hopefully speak the truth with love.  🌿

    1. Totally understand where you’re coming from, Lisa, and I think you understand the point of the blog post very well. Christians really do believe they have the truth, and so want to share it with zeal, but we should be mindful that others also passionately believe they have the truth.

      God bless you and thank you for your comment!

  4. Coming from a place of what we “think” is love and then speaking love to another may be two entirely different things. We need to go about life with gentleness and humility especially as you shared, Christ warned us, we are not perfect.

    1. That’s so true, T.R.! Really appreciate your point. Was just thinking – it seems that Jesus showed gentleness and humility, but I suppose he also drove the money changers out of the temple with a whip! Perhaps in certain circumstances we are allowed to get angry with others for our faith.

      1. I don’t know if it is so much about getting angry with others, but angry at the fact God and Christ are not being treated the way They should. That’s the only time we see Him putting to action His anger, which I believe is also fulfilling prophesy because scripture spoke of the temple becoming a den of thieves, as He says.

        He did drive out those who bought and sold, turning over their tables, and not allowing anyone to carry wares (goods) into the temple. But when He did this, yes, He was angry, but He was teaching the people this was not acceptable, and this is why the scribes and chief priests wanted Him killed because of His teaching, including this teaching of a temple. How are the people going to know better if they aren’t told. We know in the Old Testament centuries went by and people forgot who God was, so they were being taught wrong on what was appropriate and what wasn’t. (Mark 11:15-18)

        I think in most cases we just want to feel justified by our anger and feel it’s okay to rebuke others, when in truth, we aren’t as humble as we should be and probably are short tempered. We can be angry and not sin. I can’t speak on behalf of others of course, but I am not as humble as Christ in my own anger, and for me, I can’t speak in anger. I have to give it to God first, calm down, and then when calm, that’s when I can talk to others about issues that might need to be discussed. 🙂

        In the same manner, thank goodness God is patient with us.

      2. Hi Steven

        If Jesus did show His anger, then perhaps He had the right to get angry with the hypocrites He encountered. I don’t think we have the right to get angry with others for our faith as we could end up regretting it if we caused harm or were deemed to be bullying others.

        Peace and love to all,

        Dinos

  5. To me it seems Jesus, the prophets and Paul rebuked those who said they were believers in God but acted sinfully. But rebuking non-believers is not our job. If people make fun of Christians or persecute them, we are to love them, forgive them and rejoice. That’s what Jesus said.

    But I see a lot of anger and fear from Christians at being “persecuted” by the government because they won’t serve gay people or recognize gay marriage etc. Anger is the wrong response in my opinion.

  6. Spot on Belle; for God days – love them, I’ll sort them out!
    From the pulpit, however, it is a different matter, preachers must stand against the many evils of our day and they might have to face the consequences because for so long our pulpits have been powerless. Even in condemning sin, it still must be done in love, no harshness preachers. It has to be GRACE all the way – GREAT GRACE will be ours when we get some Sprirt filled preachers who can make a difference by the Kingdom Power being obvious. Good piece Steve.

      1. The last paragraph should be framed by all followers of Christ and hung behind the toilet door. That way we can examine our lives with a little Colborne shove. I love it!

  7. Great article Steven! When situations come up where we wonder whether we should “defend Christianity” I think of how Jesus Himself would react. I honestly don’t think he’d be on a computer seeing a bunch of negative things being said in the first place, and if He was, I think His reaction would be something like, “Forgive them, they know not what they do.” I think we’d have more of an impact on non-believers by standing up for what we believe in, but not throwing it in their face kind of way. (Such as a comment on something they shared that we disagree on) Jesus didn’t go looking for people He disagreed with but for people who were ready to hear the truth and who were hungry for God.

    1. Well done, Jess! You have shown remarkable insight.

      The people, including some Romans (remember the Centurion), wanted to hear Him because He was charismatic (the English term charisma is from the Greek χάρισμα (khárisma), which means “favour freely given” or “gift of grace”. The term and its plural χαρίσματα (charismata) derive from χάρις (charis), which means “grace”.). People from all walks of life were attracted to Him. Jesus never had to look for people ready to hear the truth; all people within His vicinity wanted to hear His truth except for the authority figures, e.g.s the Pharisees and the scribes – see Mt 23:

      https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+23&version=NKJV

      Peace and love to all,

      Dinos

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