People. That is what our work is all about. Let us not forget that we are just working with people. They come in all shapes and sizes. Each comes with varying dispositions from differing backgrounds. Each has a history connected with family culture. There is nothing more enjoyable, or frustrating, than working with people. Joy comes when people obey the gospel and grow as a Christian. Joy comes by watching young people grow to maturity, get married and start their family. Frustration comes when, try as we may to teach someone, they will not obey the gospel. Frustration comes when people give up and quit. They quit on themselves, their family, their brethren, and God.
God vested His greatest act of love on the behalf of people. He offered the greatest gift for us, His son (John. 3:16). He did that when we were revolting (Rom. 5:8). He loved us when we didn’t deserve His love. Then, He tells us to love one another as He has loved us (John. 13:34). At no time does He tell us to love each other if we deserve it, if we are pleasant, or if we are great. But, we are to love each other when the very opposite is the fact. Long-suffering is no demonstration of love as long as we are long-suffering to those who do not require us to be longsuffering. Longsuffering suggests that there is someone to be suffered with. Long suffering, forbearance, humility, meekness all suggest someone needs these from us.
There are times when it is hard to be kind to people. When we feel that someone has hurt our feelings we do not want to be kind. That is our carnal man. The new man in Christ, however, must. Kindness is one of our new garments (Col. 3:12-14). No Christian should want to hurt or be hurt by another Christian. At times we do hurt others. We ought to be sorry and repentant. But when we are hurt we must still be a Christian as well. That means we bless, do well and pray for those who hurt us (Mat. 5:44). We may not be able to control what others do to us, but we can control our attitude and behavior toward them. Yes, this is hard, especially when we don’t want to. But God did just this for us, and our doing what God did for us makes us more like Him (Matt 5:45).
The key to getting along with each other in a local church is for everyone to try to be like God. If we all try as hard as we possibly can to imitate Him and what He has done for us, we will continue to get along. When we fail, correct the wrong and be willing to have the wrong corrected, express love for each other and vow to try harder and help each other.
by Rickie Jenkins