In June’s Online Learning Lab, a group of us discussed several of Jesus’s commands. These are things we must do if we are to be the Church. We usually think of the Church as a building, a place we go on Sundays. However, the reality is that the Church is a gathering of people who love Jesus. Moreover, the Church is a group of people who through faith, love God with our entire being; love our neighbor; love each other as Jesus loves us; and make disciples who love and obey Jesus.
Eventually, our conversation branched out to the different “One Another” commands found throughout the New Testament. These instructions regarding how we’re supposed to treat one another are given in 94 different verses in the New Testament*, so it’s an important theme to pay attention to. One-third of the verses have to do with how we love each other, one-third have to do with unity, and 15% refer to humility and thinking of others more highly than we think of ourselves. So if you’ve ever wondered what it means to love others, a good place to begin is with love, unity, and humility.
One of the guys in the discussion told a story about his kids that any parent knows is true of all children. Little kids can be at each other’s throats one moment, calling each other terrible things. Then, five minutes later, they’re laughing and playing as if nothing happened.
Little kids keep no record of wrongs.
Is this what Jesus was talking about when He said,
"I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. - Matthew 18:3-4
How is it that we forget how to forgive when we become adults? What is it that changes within us that makes us a little harder, a little less willing to move past a wrong done to us?
I know for me, there is a desire to feel justified. I want to believe I’m in the right and someone else is in the wrong, when many times the truth is we both share some of the blame. In my pride, I don’t want to apologize because this makes me feel vulnerable, and vulnerability is viewed as a weakness in our culture. I also don’t want to forgive because somehow I believe this is letting them off the hook, when in reality I’m the one being bound up in bitterness. Even though I may feel these things, I know that God opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble (James 4:6). Even if you’re a Christian, God will oppose you in your prideful thoughts and behaviors. It’s something that should concern us all because our pride prevents us from experiencing the work and blessing God has for us.
If we’re going to make disciples like Jesus did, then we should apologize when we’ve done wrong, and we must learn to forgive - even when no apology is given.
Fights between children may not be pretty, but we can learn a lot from how they forgive. We need to love like little kids.
(Love) does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. - 1 Corinthians 13:5
*One Another Infographic: https://overviewbible.com/one-another-infographic/