Have you ever spent time around a couple or a family that ridiculed each other? Whether it was under the guise of teasing or flat-out verbal lashing, you could feel the tension and contempt. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like it. I don’t like being around couples that mock each other in such a way as to make a point. It makes me uncomfortable. I don’t like being around families that have nothing but scorn for one another. It makes me want to run away. And it’s just so sad. Where’s the love and respect? What have they experienced together that created such bitterness? It makes me shake my head.
May Christians never treat each other in such a way that our non-Christian friends shake their head. The church is the household of God (Eph. 2:19), and we’re to treat each other brotherly, sisterly, fatherly (1 Tim. 5:1,2). We’re to “love one another with brotherly affection” and “outdo one another in showing honor” (Rom. 12:10). These aren’t just words to read but actions to put into practice! How does the world SEE us loving and honoring fellow Christians?
In an effort to keep from being seen as harsh and judgmental, we’ve gotten good at extending grace to the worldly. Let’s not neglect to extend grace to our brothers and sisters in Christ as well. Instead of being quick to publicly point out what Christians are doing wrong or how they’ve let us down, shouldn’t we be working hard to show the world that fellow Christians are our favorite (John 13:34,35)?
I just don’t think that “fighting the good fight” means fighting each other. In the same chapter, Paul warns against those who have an “unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, and constant friction” (1 Tim. 6:4,5). In the same chapter, Paul encourages us to “pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness” (v. 11). That’s how we “fight the good fight of faith” (v. 12). That’s how we “keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ” (v. 14).
Because we have received grace, let’s freely extend grace to all, Christian and non-Christian alike. Let’s draw the world to Christ by showing them something they’ll want to have for themselves. I’m naturally drawn to couples and families that are kind and loving toward each other. I want to be with them. I want to learn from them and share in their joy. What an opportunity we have as Christians to attract others to Christ by the way we honor, promote, love, and lift up each other!
“So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Gal. 6:10, emphasis mine).