The Only Way to Know for Sure
By this everyone will know you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. — John 13:35
How many people do you know that are Christians? I know lots of people who say they are Christians. I saw this cartoon once that had these wolves in sheep costumes. Some of them had their sheep masks off asking the question “are there any real sheep around here?” The Bible does talk about wolves who disguise themselves as sheep. Matthew 7:15 says “watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious as wolves.”
I think it is interesting that the meanest people I know claim to be church people. This is kind of an unfair statement since I only know mostly church people. But, the people that I know that don’t claim to be a Christians have never shown me any sign that they treat people horribly. On the other hand, I watch people on Facebook post Bible verses, prayer requests, and let us know exactly when and where they are going to church. Then, when someone ticks them off, they unload a furious verbal tirade on their “haters.” I have to ask inwardly, “are they ferocious like a wolf? Or, are they harmless like a dove?” (Matthew 10:16)
Now, don’t get me wrong here, if you have only recently been saved, you probably aren’t anywhere near the “love your enemies’ stage yet. However, as you mature and grow in the Lord, the Bible says that there is one sure-fire way to let everyone know that you are a true disciple of Jesus. If someone watches how you treat the person you like the least, what does it look like? If you do not show them love, I am not saying that you aren’t saved or not a Christian, but I am saying that you are confusing people on the outside looking in. People watching you have every right to call you a hypocrite, because that is exactly what you are. You can post all the Bible verses you want on the internet, but if you have hatred in your heart for anyone, and I mean anyone, you had better begin to ask the Lord to change your heart. I don’t want to give you the impression that I have “arrived” here yet either. I’m still working on this. At the very least, I have simply learned to not “fire” back when I get angry. I try to only respond when I’m calm and I’ve actually thought about the situation, and that is only if the situation requires a response at all. There is definitely something to “if you can’t say something nice…”
I am not suggesting that you have to get “run over” by people and allow yourself to be used repeatedly. Showing love does not necessarily mean you have to become a doormat. I do not know your circumstances, they may be extreme. However, I do know what the circumstances of Jesus were a couple thousand years ago. He was being beaten, spit upon, taunted, mocked and nailed to a cross. He had every right to be angry with these people doing this to Him. He could have said words that would literally tear them down, instead He chose to say “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” I know for sure that Jesus is who He says He is because of the love He had for His betrayers, but most of all, I know because of the love He has for me. He continuously shows me mercy and grace. I am thankful that He doesn’t “put me in my place” or “give me what I deserve.” The least I can do is make my best attempt to show others what I have been shown.
Examine your life very closely this week. How do you treat people who don’t necessarily deserve to be treated well by you? If you claim to be a Christian, there is only one way to know for sure…
By this, everyone will know you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.