Our outlook concerning others determines how we treat them. Christ has a specific way He wants us to view each other.
3 Stone is heavy and sand a burden, but a fool’s provocation [when we let people anger or irritate us] is heavier than both.
5 Better is open rebuke [by a loved one] than hidden love [when loved ones shield us from the truth about ourselves].
6 Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses [tells us what we want to hear rather than what we need to hear].
How are we to regard each other? Are we brothers and sisters in Christ (Romans 8:29)? Are we to spur each other on to love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:24)? Yes, but it’s more than that. Let’s read 2 Corinthians 5:17,
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
We are all new creations in Christ. We are not like we were. Each of us is now growing in godliness according to the amount of trust we have in the Holy Spirit as He works in our lives. We must not regard each other as we were before Christ. That person is dead. We are all now part of the Body of Christ, the Bride of the Bridegroom, the Building of God.
Let’s look at the three previous verse 16:
16 So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer.
Verse 16 tells us not to regard anyone from a worldly point of view, which means that even sinners hold eternal value. That value is the price Christ paid on the cross for each one of them. We need to begin looking at them as potential brothers and sisters in Christ rather than as heathens and “pieces of trash.” That attitude holds contempt for the ones for whom Christ died!
How should we live? For that answer, let’s go back two more verses:
14 For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.
If we live for Christ, then we live to win those who are lost in sin. We accomplish this feat by being obedient to the Holy Spirit as He leads us. HE will lead us where to go; HE will tell us what to do; HE will put the words in our mouths. If we are following Christ, then we don’t need people telling us what God’s will is (including people who tell us that we need to be telling people about Jesus and witnessing on street corners; that job is reserved for those He calls to do that specific task). We live our lives for Christ to reach the one that He has lined up for us. It may be our child, our sibling, our neighbor, our friend; it’s usually someone with whom we have a relationship. As we grow more mature in Christ, He leads us into new relationships for His sake and His glory. Did you catch Who does the leading? Christ does!
Let’s quit guilting each other into being something we are not. What we ARE is followers of Jesus Christ. HE will “work in us what is pleasing to Him” (Hebrews 13:21). Let’s see people as Christ sees people. WE ALL NEED JESUS!
Abba, I only want to go where You lead me, when You lead me, do what You want me to do, and say what You want me to say. I don’t need to do anything FOR You, just WITH You. It’s the whole point of our relationship. Keep me by Your side, Lord. It’s the highest and safest place I can be. Amen.