Saturday, 23 July 2011
I'll be the first to admit that it is so hard to be nice sometimes. Not just "nice," but kind and tenderhearted, as the above verse says. When someone says something nasty to me, especially when it's a false accusation or said with arrogance or in a condescending manner, it can be quite hard to just let it roll off my back. I'm sure I'm not alone in this, but there are others who seem to do better at forgiving others than myself.
As Christians, we are to be lights in a world of darkness. We must be kind when others are harsh and forgiving when others are angry. This can be hard to do, but we have the eternal light of Jesus Christ in us, and the only reason we are lights is because God has opened our eyes! Let us not forget, because “at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light” (5:7-8). This is a command, not a suggestion.
Often times on Xanga (especially on blogs about God), some users feel the need to be incredibly rude and harsh in their comments. I have read some of them and thought, "What is wrong with this person? Who peed in your cereal?" I think this tendency comes with just being behind a screen and not face-to-face with someone. How many of us, honestly, would say some of the things we say online if we were to be staring into that actual person's eyes? Not many of us. But to all Christians, let's remember this:
Before God saved us, we were blinded by Satan, by our own sin, and by the god(s) of this world; clinging only to our passions and pleasures and doing nothing profitable for the kingdom of God. Though we may be frustrated by those who walk in darkness, we need to be compassionate toward them; because we were once just like them. If we bear the name of Jesus Christ, we must be fruitful (5:9) and discern what is pleasing to the Lord, and part of that responsibility is to handle anger in a godly fashion. If someone isn't a Christian, we can't expect them to act like it. Why would someone who is walking in darkness have any desire to please God? We need to be loving and most importantly, patient with them. How many times has God been patient with us? Too many to count.
This doesn’t mean that we participate in unfruitful works of darkness, but we expose them (5:11). To be kind to someone and to love someone doesn’t mean that you simply tolerate their sin or condone it; it means that we must show the love of Christ toward them by being tenderhearted and forgiving and showing your disapproval of their sin. Jesus never went and cursed the world, for it was already cursed. He did, however, expose the acts of darkness with his perfect light. We should also strive to do this as well.
The books of James states clearly that the anger of men does not produce the righteousness of God, so no matter how angry we get, we are to handle it with patience and love. And trust me, this is hard to do. I’m talking to myself when I say all this! I pray that I would be more Christ-like and that I would be slow to anger, slow to speak, and quick to listen. When we’re wronged, the first thing we want to do is snap at our accusers and put them in their place. Yet what good does that do? Trust me, you’ll gain a lot more attention if you are kind to those who are mean to you, and if you pray for those who hate you. The world is watching you. We are to always represent Christ and the work that the Holy Spirit has done in us to sanctify us. To God be the glory!