More than any other time since I've been a disciple of the Lord I'm seeing believers who think they are mature because of the wealth of teachings available and what they think they know, yet they don't do the most basic teachings of Jesus - what I would call 'Jesus 101'. Entry level class to being a Christian. They are hypocrites of the highest order, yet as with most hypocrites, they don't see their own hypocrisy.
Many of us have experienced being 'unfriended' on Facebook for example. And if you're a church-goer you've no doubt also experienced being 'unfriended' long before Facebook ever came around with that term, lol. The 'unfriending' of a fellow church friend or social media friend is a prime example of those who think they are mature but are in fact babes in Christ.
What do you do when someone at church ends the friendship, or on social media you are unfriended and blocked?
Jesus' commands: Reconciliation is nearly always the goal
Jesus said in Matthew 5: 23-24 if you're at the altar to bring a gift to the Lord, but remember your brother has something against you, leave your gift and go be reconciled to your brother.
In Matthew 18: 15 He said if your brother has trespassed against you, go to him privately and be reconciled.
That's basic Jesus. Paul and James would emphasize the same thing in Galatians 6: 1-3 and James 5: 16 when they said to seek restoration with someone who has trespassed against us, and admit our mistakes to one another and pray for one another for healing of the relationship.
Woven throughout the New Testament letters are commands to make allowances for one another, to love and forgive one another, to be diligent to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, and so much more. The objective is always reconciliation.
The only reasons given for not reconciling is the other person insists they are right and won't compromise, or they cause division and strife and hurt, or they refuse to reconcile, are going further into sin, or they teach error. (Matthew 18: 15-20, Galatians 6: 1-6, Romans 16: 17-18, II Timothy 2: 25-26)
Who obeys basic Jesus these days?
A typical Facebook unfriending goes something like this: A person gets a message from someone whose post they had responded to and they say something like: 'It seems you are always trying to correct me or point out what I did wrong or take offense, so I think it best we part friends'. And that is that. When the person responds they get a 'this person is not receiving messages right now' or other notice that they have cut off all possibility of contacting them.
The person doing the unfriending does not follow Jesus' instructions about seeking reconciliation and trying to make peace, for they don't give the other person an opportunity to discover the issue and apologize.
I get many emails from people on the receiving end of such treatment; hurt, rejected, wondering what they did that was horrible enough to be 'unfriended and blocked'. The same unfriending happens in church. In fact unfriending on social media is just an extension of what existed in churches long before the computer age existed.
Their issue is with Jesus
But if a person refuses to obey Jesus in a matter, there isn't much you can do about it. That is their wood, hay, and stubble they will carry into heaven to give account before the Lord. He will ask them why they didn't do what they knew was right. Their issue is truly with Him, not with you.
And that is the take away today - when a person refuses to do something basic that is woven throughout scripture - their issue is with the Lord and their own heart. Somewhere deep inside they want to put themselves forth without any challenges or accountability to what they say. They want authority without responsibility.
With the exceptions mentioned above, we should as much as is within our ability, seek to live peaceably as scripture says. But some find it easier to cut you out of their lives than to do the hard work of making peace.
Jesus is always moving us towards being diligent to add to our faith moral excellence, knowledge, self-control, consistency, godliness, brotherly love, and unconditional love. He is always moving us into love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, meekness, kindness, faithfulness.
If we move away from these qualities of character and soul, we move away from Him. Next week, a visitation where the Lord taught me how He deals with people who refuse to learn their lesson. Until then, blessings,
www.cwowi.org and email me at firstname.lastname@example.org