by: carole l. haines
Therefore, my beloved brethren whom I long to see, my joy and crown, in this way stand firm in the Lord, my beloved. 2 I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to live in harmony in the Lord. 3 Indeed, true companion, I ask you also to help these women who have shared my struggle in the cause of the gospel, together with Clement also and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life. (Philippians 4 NASB)
We don’t necessarily like everyone in the Body of Christ, do we? Just as personalities clash outside of God’s Family, they clash inside as well. So what do we do when this happens? How do we respond when we can tell someone is giving us the cold shoulder, or when we bristle inside at the presence of another believer who just rubs us the wrong we? We choose to see them as God sees them, as God sees us. We help one another to grow and transform into Christ’s image. We love one another, without necessarily “liking” everyone. How important is this response, this choice to love who we don’t like? According to 1 John 4, it is absolutely crucial to the world being able to see Jesus, and to our own spiritual growth and transformation. Listen to what John says:
7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us.
Our very spiritual maturity depends on obeying Jesus call to love one another. Liking has nothing to do with it. But I have found that when I pray for someone I don’t necessarily like, God opens my spiritual eyes to see this person as He does, and that changes my perspective. God’s perspective is always truth, ours may only be opinion, preference, or a judgmental spirit. So, the next time someone in the body of Christ rubs you the wrong way, do not respond as the world does, in retaliation, spite, or judgment; choose to apply Christ’s love. Further still, pray for the person, for yourself, and the situation. If it is still too difficult, confide in a trusted leader your need for help in loving this person; as Paul mentions above to the Recipient of Philippians. No gossip allowed, just sharing your need for help, not your opinion of the person. No one has seen God at any time, if we love one another, despite our differences; we shine a light on the perfect love of God, and point others to Jesus.