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Showing Love to All Peopleby Duane Mabee on February 27, 2020
One of our commitments at North River is to show the love of Christ. We want to be known for loving each other, our community and the world well. To do that, one of the things we have agreed to is that we will show the love of Christ unconditionally to all people regardless of their gender, ethnicity, economic status, physical ability, politics, religion, beliefs, etc. What does that look like? How do we do that well? Let me discuss some generalities and then get specific.
To show the love of Christ to everyone, we must first learn to respect and accept them as they are. That does not mean that we have to agree with everything they believe or do. You can love and respect people you strongly disagree with. You show respect by honestly listening to their point of view. They are intelligent and have reasons for seeing things the way they do. To respect them means to refuse to negatively characterize them or demean them. Our culture has taken to personal smears, name calling, and character assassination, rather than discussing ideas. That is out of place for Christ followers who seek to show love to those around them.
To show the love of Christ, we need to actively treat other people the way we wish they would treat us. We need to be honest with them and not deceptive in any way. We need to verbally encourage them and protect their reputations. We need to treat what belongs to them with respect and protect their rights. We must not make them the brunt of our jokes and derision. To love others well, we must actively treat them the way we wish they would treat us.
That should be true whether we are face-to-face with them or will never see them. It remains the same if we are talking to them or about them when they are not in the room. How we show the love of Christ to others is a character issue on our part, not just a mantra we quote or something we do when others are watching.
Let’s apply this specifically. If we are going to show the love of Christ to all people regardless of who they are, what they believe, or the lifestyle they live, we need to do it in all of our social media interactions as well as our personal interactions. It is easy to demean and ridicule groups of people over social media because we do not have to look them in the eyes while we do it. I strongly encourage us to read everything we post from the standpoint of “how would I feel if someone posted something like this about what I believe?” If “the other side” wrote things like this about what you believe or value, whether that is the other side politically, religiously, morally, or philosophically, would you feel respected and understood, or would you feel demeaned?
We are not exempted from showing the love of Christ unconditionally to all people just because we are on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp, Snapchat…