Don’t Eat Each Other Alive…

There is an interesting phenomenon happening in China.  China is literally destroying it’s own water supply.  How is this happening?  I recently read this article from the Foreign Affairs Council.  On the grasslands of the Tibetan plateau, one sometimes hears a strange chattering — an excited buzz that seems to emanate from the earth itself. Anyone who stops to look for the source will quickly realize that the ground is marked by a series of holes, from which small, shy creatures are likely to be watching. The labyrinthine burrows made by these mammals, called pikas, provide them security. But they provide China and much of Asia security as well. By digging holes in the ground, pikas allow rainwater to percolate into the earth and replenish the water table. Without the humble pika, the water simply runs along the surface, triggering floods and soil erosion. So it is no coincidence that, when the pikas became the target of a state-led poisoning campaign beginning in the mid-twentieth century, waters began, slowly, to dry up across the country. The pika was accused of being a pest that destroyed grasslands. Scientists have pointed out that the pika prefers long grass and that its visibility is a symptom, not a cause, of grassland degradation. But policy is slow to catch up with science; pika killings continue…

I often wonder if the Church is destroying it’s own water supply by the way that we as Christians eat each other alive with our words.  Paul wrote to the Galatians… But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another! (Galatians 5:15).  How often do you hear a pastor criticizing another pastor from the pulpit?  How often do you hear a believer criticizing another believer in conversation?  Could it be that when we bite and devour each other with our words that we are quenching the Holy Spirit, the very living water that flows in our lives?  You may says… but you don’t understand this person is really bad and everything I’m gossiping about is true!  Is it true?  Or is it your perception of truth?  Jesus said, By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. (John 13:35) and yet I find that Christians are the first to divide over non-essential issues of doctrine in the name of truth.  We are quick to judge and separate.  But Jesus said the quality that separates my disciples from everyone else is love and how do we demonstrate love?  By going to them privately and bringing your concerns to see if you can understand win a brother.

Does it trouble you that Jesus didn’t say you will know that you are My disciples by your love for truth or your correct theology?  Yet many of us live as if that is the case and I wonder in doing so if we are destroying our water supply… the water of the Holy Spirit.  James said, But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. (James 3:17 )  I wonder if we are being peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy when we judge, condemn, criticize, divide?  I wonder if we were to take a moment to gaze at our own hearts if we would see that we are just as much in need of mercy as the person we want to judge?

All of us have encountered people like this.  Who call themselves Christians.  They speak the right lingo.  They write nice notes.  They may even be on the radio or T.V., but in reality their hearts are filled with condemnation and judgment.  I wonder if Jesus would call them their disciples?  An even greater thing to consider is if I judge them with the same judgment I’ve received, am I being a disciple of Jesus.  People judge because they feel judged.  People condemn because they are under condemnation.  People are unforgiving because they don’t feel forgiven.  For me to judge them because they haven’t entered into the revelation of God’s love lowers me to their level.  Rather, we are to respond with love.  We are to respond with grace and we are to extend forgiveness.

If you’ve been hurt or even slandered by one of these nominal Christians who come in the name of truth and ignore love, I would encourage you to forgive them.  They don’t know what they’re doing.  They’re simply doing what’s been done to them.  I would encourage you to turn to Jesus and let His Word speak into your life.  His is the only opnion that matters.  I would encourage you to show kindness and mercy to those who have acted unkindly to you… even if they repay your kindness with more condemnation and judgment.  They can’t help it.  They’re under condemnation and the only thing that breaks the cycle of condemnation is grace… so extend to them the grace you’ve received so freely from Jesus.  Don’t allow yourself to be ripped off by their condemnation.  Walk in the freedom you’ve received in Jesus and love.

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