One of my favorite shows to watch is House. Maybe it’s that scruffy stubble on House’s face, or the adorable Dr. Wilson and his constant struggle with women. But I just like the show. I like the mystery and witty comments. I was having an obsessive streak recently and watched about ten episodes. In one episode basically the entire time the characters where trying to figure out what was wrong with each other more then the patient. Did this doctor cheat? Is that doctor having a break down? The entire time the team was trying to diagnose one another and their personal problems. (I bet you can see where I’m going with this one. What if I randomly just decided to talk about animal sacrifice, wouldn’t that blow your mind?)
Guess what? Bingo! That’s what we as Christians do all the time. It’s like this game that we play to keep us entertained. The “I wonder if he’s got the broken up with or got drunk last night anger?” game and we are pros at it. Most of our conversations consist of questions of “what is going on in your life?”; “how have you been? Haven’t seen you in awhile?”; or my personal favorite curve ball (I’m guilty of it) “What is God teaching you in your life?” There are times when the request is completely legitimate, out of true concern for our fellow brother or sister in Christ. Usually though it’s just to try and diagnose and figure someone out. When it is really bad we not only try and diagnose the “problem”, but we also try and cure the “problem”.
I could start throwing out Biblical references like Billy Graham right now. I mean I could just throw the whole “you got a stinking shopping center in your eye, so leave me alone” verse reference. But I want to focus on some different verses though. First in Proverbs 27: 17 “As iron sharpens iron, so should one man sharpen another.” Immediately once I hear that verse I think of an epic sword fight. Man it is awesome…anyways, I could explain the symbolism of this and what it meant practically and how it applies to us Christians, but I think we all get it. We, as Christians, are supposed to sharpen one another. Keep each other on our toes. That doesn’t mean keep each other on edge like a paranoid ape who thinks someone is going to steal his mango. That means to challenge and test one another. I think though we Christians get lost on this point. We take the pillows off (by the way in my head the sword fighters are wearing pillows) and just go to town on each other. So here comes the curve ball. 1 Corinthians 13: 1-7 (gasp did he just pull out that marriage passage, Oh no he didn’t. Oh yes I did.). If you have spent any amount of time around weddings you have heard this passage used over, and over, and over, and over, and over again. But I think this verse carries so much weight with Christians as a whole.
“1If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” 1 Corinthians 13:7. If the whole iron sharpens iron thing leaves a metallic taste in your mouth you should remember this verse. Yes, we are to challenge and hold one another accountable, but in all love and sincerity in Christ. Unless we, as Christians, approach one another with the love of Christ we are nothing, and everything we do turns into fatal self-interested attempts to try and remedy each other. Yes, we should challenge one another but with all love of Christ.
I haven’t done a very good job of this, so now let me hit you with another convicting verse for me in this situation. Many times the offense or problem doesn’t lie with us (can you feel the sarcasm dripping from that statement?). In any situation we should always approach one another as Christians with a heart of love and forgiveness. And most importantly don’t be to prideful to admit you wrong first. This isn’t a power politics game to see who gives in first. This is the life of a sinner granted forgiveness and freedom, that owes everything to His savior.
“14May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” Galations 4:16.
So set the example and follow Christ, and love and edify your brother or sister in Christ. Don’t ridicule or tear down and don’t try and diagnose. I would definitely advise against administering crazy medications (love that show). But be honest, and remember we are nothing with out the love of Christ which He showed so clearly on the cross.
Set the example:
“12Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.” 1 Timothy 4:12.
I think this will end in some apologies on my part, and an EKG.