Yet again, another article defaming my name and character has been posted on the _________ Blog. I called Dr. T and received great advice. Love your enemies. We have adopted the rules Sharon posted awhile back, and would wish that the Blog would adopt it as well. I have chosen, after much prayer and venting, to follow what is right: love. I love (the defaming blog writer) .
To S and to all:
I usually just read blogs from the sidelines for a variety of reasons, including the sophomoric behavior that is sadly tolerated on the internet among even those who profess Christ.
I enjoyed the former's words on this subject. And, as a fellow brother under Christ our Teacher, I would like to add to his words a bit.
What is "love" as the Bible defines it? In its simplest, most precise form I would say it is simply, "obeying God's commandments."
1 John 5:1-3
Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him. 2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments.
1 Timothy 1:5
Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith
Other passages such as 1 Cor 13 also describe character that results from practicing "love," that is, from keeping God's commandments in every situation.
One could ask, "What, then are the commandments of God?" I would answer the New Testament teachings, the Law of Christ, (rather than the Law of Moses - see http://prophecyhistory.com/?q=node/68 if further clarification is needed).
The most loving thing you can do for anyone is to obey God concerning them and the situation they present.
In the case of someone who engages in malicious misrepresentations, provoking divisions while showing no fruit of the spirit, (Galatians 5:22, if needed, see http://heavenlyjerusalem.com/?q=node/135), the most loving thing you can do is to obey the New Testament's commandments concerning such a one:
A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject;
Modern scholars equate "an heretick" with "a divisive man":
Reject a divisive man after the first and second admonition
My application of this, (and I believe this is the most loving thing one can do towards someone who repeatedly provokes toward causing division & strife among believers), is to patiently correct him once, (in meekness, per Galatians 6:1).
Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. 2 Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
(This is where the divisive man is distiguished from the godly corrector: the divisive man does not correct others in a spirit of gentleness. He says he is presenting grapes and figs but he presents his "fruit" among provoking barbs and thorns: "you will know them by their fruits," http://heavenlyjerusalem.com/?q=node/135. Such a person is what Proverbs calls "a mocker" and the Psalms refers to as "the scornful," (Psalm 1), and known on the internet as "a troll." He provokes to hatred by his malicious misepresentations. He will eventually suffer alone, in loneliness, Proverbs 9:12).
If the divisive man repents, you have restored a brother who was on the brink of becoming "a bitter root rising up to defile many," (Heb 12:15). If he goes back to his divisive behavior, correct him again after the manner of Galatians 6:1. In no wise should we ever return evil for evil, smart aleck divisiveness with smart-aleck divisiveness, back-biting, etc.: that only serves to destroy our Christian witness to onlookers - and the divisive man has obtained his objective.
If after one and two admonitions this person continues the divisive behavior, the most loving thing you can do for him is to reject him. That means to just have nothing more to do with him directly. The only avenue left for expressing love to him is to pray in private for him since he is warped and will interpret any good act as provocation. He is a divisive man. You effectively excommunicate him from your personal sphere and cease all interactions with him.
When enough godly people do this to him he will feel lonely. When he gets so lonely for fellowship with godly people he will call out to God, because God is the only one who will still bother with him. And when he gets lonely enough for godly company, he will humble his heart to listen. And God will tell him honestly his fault and grant him another real chance to repent. He may just repent, afterall, for real. And that is the result of real love. (But "he who spares the rod spoils the child." It is not loving to just keep coddling bad behavior, reinforcing in him the impression that he is right with God, hugging and kissing him goodnight right into his bed in Hell).
If the divisive man does not repent, and he persists provoking, you may consider him a "thorn in the flesh," a sort of "messenger of Satan sent to buffet" you that Christ allows so that you may remain humble and capable of receiving more deep instruction from the Lord without getting puffed up by it:
2 Corinthians 12:7-10
To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
"God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble," 1 Peter 5:5 and James 4:6. By keeping you humble, (humiliated), He keeps you in position to receive more grace.
The above is for our own protection, too. "Keep your heart with all diligence for out of it flow the issues of life." You keep hugging a snake and it will keep pumping your heart full of its bitter venom until your love grows cold and your faith dies. You must protect yourself by keeping distance from such a person.
Further, for the love of those born of God who might also be endangered by a divisive person, we must not lend our reputations to him by maintaining fellowship with him and thereby give the wrong impression that he is a recommended associate.
1 Corinthians 5:11-13
You must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a [tip:slanderer=a false witness. Here is what the NIV notes say on Exodus 20:16 CHRISTIAN ETHICS, Language–A word spoken cannot be called back, whether a word of truth or falsehood. Dishonest reports, slander, exaggerating the truth–all distort the character of the teller and the one reported upon. To establish justice, society must be able to believe the words of its members. Dishonest reports is the stringing together of another’s words in such a way as to make them say what the speaker did not intend. To then impugn one’s character as a result of that false presentation is thus slanderous. His violation then is found in his own motive for doing this.], a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat. 12 What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? 13 God will judge those outside. "Expel the wicked man from among you."
Obedience to this commandment is the most loving thing you can do for a divisive man (here "a [tip:slanderer=a false witness. Here is what the NIV notes say on Exodus 20:16 CHRISTIAN ETHICS, Language–A word spoken cannot be called back, whether a word of truth or falsehood. Dishonest reports, slander, exaggerating the truth–all distort the character of the teller and the one reported upon. To establish justice, society must be able to believe the words of its members. Dishonest reports is the stringing together of another’s words in such a way as to make them say what the speaker did not intend. To then impugn one’s character as a result of that false presentation is thus slanderous. His violation then is found in his own motive for doing this.]," meaning "verbally abusive"), as well as for the rest of the body of believers. It will protect the body of believers as well draw the divisive man to repentence through humbling isolation from obedient people. But so long as he has interaction and attention, he deludes himself into thinking he is doing some work for God -- because he is warped,
Warn a divisive person once, and then warn him a second time. After that, have nothing to do with him. 11 You may be sure that such a man is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.
Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them.
The #1 thing we have been taught and commanded is to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and to love oneanother.
Matters of eschatology, (while an encouragement when properly understood), come much, much, much further down the list. Those who violate the commandment to love and to correct in meekness when dealing with eschatology are like those who "strain out a gnat while swallowing a camel."
There are more related verses that could be printed out here, but I think these get the message across.
LOVE = OBEDIENCE TO THE NEW TESTAMENT = THE LAW OF CHRIST = THE LAW OF GOD