"And be kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you" (Ephesians 4:32).
If you want to be kindhearted—to take up the towel to restore a brother or sister—you do not need to know the details of how that person got dirty. Jesus did not ask His disciples, "How did you get such filthy feet?" He wanted only to get the dust off of them. His love for them was unconditional.
Likewise, those who walk in the fullness of Jesus Christ must have this attitude of love toward those with dirty feet. We are not to ask for details. Instead, we are to say, "Let me wash your feet."
Too often Christians want to delve into all the gory details of a situation. They come to a believer who has dirty feet, saying, "I want to wash your feet. But tell me, what happened? How'd you get so dirty?"
At some point in the story of failure, the curious comforter realizes, "Oh, my, this is worse than I thought. I can't get involved in this." And after a few more details, he comes to the end of his puny human mercy. He judges the person as too evil, beyond help, and he drops his towel and goes his way.
Beloved, you cannot wash feet in a judge's robes. You have to take off your self-righteous garments before you can do any cleansing. Paul says we are to be gentle and patient with all people: "And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth" (2 Timothy 2:24-25).
Paul is saying, "You must be tenderhearted with everyone, willing to wash their feet. God will have mercy on them and deliver them from their sin."
Paul tells Timothy: "Have nothing to do with stupid and senseless controversies; you
know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome but
kindly to everyone, an apt teacher, patient, correcting opponents with gentleness.
God may perhaps grant that they will repent and come to know the truth"
(2 Timothy 2.23-26).
... "Proclaim the message; be persistent, whether the time is favorable or unfavorable;
convince, rebuke, and encourage, with the utmost patience in teaching" (2 Timothy 4.2).
The Apostle Peter stresses the same approach, saying: "Always be prepared to give an
answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.
But do this with gentleness and respect" (1 Peter 3.15).
Paul and Peter are telling us that in sharing the faith with and correcting others,
we are to avoid becoming angry or argumentative with others. "Fight the good
fight of the faith," as Paul says in 1 Timothy 6.12, "but "avoid wrangling over
words, which does no good but only ruins those who are listening" (2 Timothy 2.14).
And remember this: "The Lords knows those who are his" (2 Timothy 2.19).
Serving the Lord in this manner is much more effective then threatening those who don't know Him. The lost come to the conclusion that if that so-called Christian is saved, the woods are full of them & they must be going to heaven themselves. Or when hearing these Christians, the lost say if they are Christians, they don't want any part of it. We all need to practice the above tactics daily. Sometimes I know we all get so frustrated with the lost especially those kin to us like my very son. We become brutal with them thinking maybe this tactic will work. For the last year, I've chosen to step back & love him as Christ loved me before I turned to Him. I pray that my efforts don't go unnoticed.
I remember when I was in sin, I hated being around my mother. She never said a thing. She didn't have to. That's the continence I want to achieve that when others see me, they see Him. I want them to desire to be apart of what I have without having to say a thing. I know my words also should tell of His glory but I want a person to be down the street and know that there is something about me that they desire. I pray His abidance shines forth like the noon day sun. If we're constantly beating them up, we look no different then the lost except we arrogantly know what verses to sling at them & tell them with the grace of the buffalo that they're going to hell. We carry Bibles with our heads raised high because we got ours. We rebuke those who have not even received Him which is like handing someone a towel to dry off when they haven't yet jumped into the water. You cannot rebuke people of something they've never done. The rebuke & judgement is for the brothers & sisters in Christ as we help one another grow in His great mercies.
That's the right attitude or bearing to have always with our friends and loved ones who don't yet know Christ. We can't save them; that's the work of the Holy Spirit. There's no point in arguing, beating them over the head with a Bible, and trying to shove the word of God down their throats hoping that they'll come to see the truth. That will only serve to harden their hearts. Until they are regenerated by the Holy Spirit and led to Christ, the cross is foolishness to the unsaved and they can't accept the gospel.
What we can do is let others see, by our example and testimony, that we: walk in the light (1 John 1.7); always shining the light of Christ (John 12.46); imitating Christ (1 Corinthians 11.1); and remembering that "God who works in you to will and to act according to his good and purpose" (Philippians 2.13).
Amen young brother.
You know Colby, being gentle doesn't mean we are any less passionate either. It just means that we love them and desire to reveal to them the true character of Christ. For without love, nothing else matters. Why does a church like Westboro have only a few members? Because the love of Christ has evaded them. I'm not saying they aren't Christians but somewhere along the way they've forgotten the Savior. They feel the need to defend the Father when He's quite capable of defending Himself. Still others choose the scare tactic of the end times. Again, I find this unprofitable. Why would a person run to God when he has yet to accept the truths of the Bible in the first place? If fear always worked, our prisons would be empty, our gun shops would hold flowers, the world would turn to Christ.
What you say rings true with me.
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