Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Love Without Hypocrisy

The theme of this week's blog carnival is another Fruit of the Spirit, kindness. While the word "kindness" by itself didn't inspire any immediate thoughts, two Scriptures kept coming to mind:

"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." (John 13:34-35)

"Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good." (Romans 12:9)

We call ourselves Christians, but do we show it with our love? This is where kindness comes in. It's easy to fake kindness by being cordial and polite. But the kindness described in Galatians 5 comes from the heart. It is sincere, without hypocrisy. (The literal translation of "sincere" in Romans 12 above is "hypocrisy") And that kindness can only come rooted in love.

So again I ask, can the world recognize us as Christians by our love, by our kindness? A couple recent examples remind me that by in large, the world recognizes us a Christians not by our love but by our cynicism and hate. Michael Hyatt blogged yesterday regarding Tiger Wood's apology. Several people have asked me what I thought of it and I honestly replied that I didn't see it and I didn't care. The cynic in me knows that this apology was scripted and the press conference was a PR stunt. Do I forgive him? Does it matter? But Michael puts it in its proper, Christian, perspective. We need to forgive, regardless. He broke his advice into these parts: 1, resist the temptation to judge; 2, accept the apology at face value; 3, believe in the possibility of change; 4, extend mercy and grace; and 5, pray for transformation. That is how I want to be treated with regards to my own sin, I should extend the same to others. To paraphrase Thomas a' Kempis in The Imitation of Christ, "Remember that the worst of someone's sin against you is nothing compared with the worst sin Jesus has already forgiven you of."

Anne Lang Bundy boldly brought up another example of the wrong example Christians set- how we treat homosexuals. Regardless of you opinions of same-sex marriage, the nature of homosexuality, or even personal experience, you have to admit that some facets of American Christianity (TM) treat homosexuality wrongly. The proper response in sincere love? Anne breaks it down as 1, love; 2, remember that we all sin; 3, remember that Jesus forgives all sin (but one); 4, give grace that not everyone has the same faith or biblical knowledge to deal with their sin; but 5, when they do, we need to address it; and 6, in case you forgot, love.

Those are just a couple of examples. I'll be back later today with part 2, looking inside our church walls.

5 comments:

Glynn said...

Kindness doesn't exist until you do it or receive it. And you're right, it's something the church -- and that's all of us -- needs to learn over and over again. We'll change more minds and open more hearts by what we do, rather than what we say. Good post, Fatha Frank.

Helen said...

True. One doesn't need to agree with someone to be kind to them. Perhaps that is when kindness is most evident. It's easy to be giving to people we like...

Bridget Chumbley said...

This makes me think of the lyrics...

They'll know we are Christians by our love...

Unfortunately this isn't always the case.

Good post, Fatha Frank.

Kevin said...

Very challenging post!

I love that Thomas a' Kempis quote: "Remember that the worst of someone's sin against you is nothing compared with the worst sin Jesus has already forgiven you of." That puts it all into perspective for me!

Fatha Frank said...

Thanks for the feedback! I wasn't sure how this would turn out when I ran out of time last night to draft it. It was posted in a rush on the way out the door for work. I'm glad it made sense!

@Kevin, there are a couple of quotes like that. I'm not sure why I picked the most complicated one. The second quote hit me on my drive: "If you have trouble forgiving someone remember that Jesus has forgiven you for far worse."