I thought this had a lot of truth in it, especially relevant to those of us who live in the West — a good call to consider how we treat our brothers and sisters in the Lord…
Brother Yun, a Christian from China, after being attacked in an article by someone he’d never met who was saying all kinds of false and negative things about him, said this:
“In China I had been used to beatings, torture with electric batons, and all kinds of humiliation. I guess that deep in my heart I had presumed that now I was in the West my days of persecution had ended.
“I couldn’t understand how someone who had never met me could write such a nasty article. I complained to my Christian friends, ‘Why don’t these people call us and read the documents? I don’t understand! Why don’t they find the truth out for themselves? It’s right here for them to see!’
“My translator told me, ‘Brother Yun, these people don’t want to know the truth. That’s why they’re not calling you or wanting to meet you. In China, Christians are persecuted with beatings and imprisonment. In the West, Christians are persecuted by the words of other Christians.'”
And that’s the sad state of our world today — we would rather strike down our own and openly slander them or gossip about them than choose to suspend judgement and talk to that person directly.
As James tells us, “Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister or judges them speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it.” (James 4:11)
Instead, if we really think a brother or sister is in the wrong, we need to speak to them personally:
“If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.” (Matthew 18:15)
It’s only after they personally refuse to listen to you that we have any right to get other people involved:
“But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.” (Matthew 18:16-17)
If you look for it, you can find bad things about anyone. But that should not be our goal. We need to be willing to /love/ others and give them the benefit of the doubt. For,
“Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” (1 Corinthians 13:6-7)
Do you see that? “Always trusts.”
So may that be the attitude of our hearts — to trust that our brothers and sisters are in the right. And if we have any reason to doubt their walk or doctrine, may we come to them personally and seek out the truth for ourselves, knowing that we will all be judged someday:
“You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat.” (Romans 14:10)