“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” — Ephesians 4:29 ESV
It seems like more now than ever, there is an expectation for the Christian church to choose sides.
Are you for the blacks or the whites? Are you for or against the Confederate flag? Are you for homosexuality or against it? Will you choose Republican or Democrat? Are you for or against abortion? But from the day we were introduced to Christ, we have been taught to love.
Many of us grew up in households where our parents taught us to love everybody and treat everyone right. We’ve learned that love covers a multitude of sin and that we love the Lord because he first loved us. So our faith in Christ is built upon a relationship of love.
There are several types of love, but the one that should always be on display by the body of Christ should be agape love — the most supreme love of all and an attribute of God. This type of love does not come natural to the flesh. It is supernatural and comes through the God of love living inside you. First John 4:8 says God is love because this type of love comes with no strings attached. Agape love says that I’ll love you in spite of the situation or what you’ve put me through.
The past few weeks alone have shown us some of the worst displays of our inability to embrace love and our lack of relationship with God — all the events surrounding the church shooting in Charleston to the decision by our Supreme Court on homosexual marriage. In both instances, there are emotions connected to the decisions: hatred, hurt, pain, disappointment, anger, etc. How could these things happen in America, a nation identified as a Christian nation?
But with all that has been said and done, I choose love! The Bible declares sin, and the heart reveals it to us. But hatred is bred in the flesh. John 13:34-35 says, “I give you a new commandment: that you should love one another. Just as I have loved you, so you, too, should love one another. By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you love one another if you keep on showing love among yourselves.”
Don’t jump on the bandwagon. Everybody wants a statement, but watch what you say. All have sinned and fallen short of his glory. Your long hair, long dress, tongue talkin’, dancing, shouting and church-going doesn’t make you any better than the next person if you can’t show love. I’ve heard hatred spewed across the pulpit against the same folks whom we should be inviting to the house of God. But Colossians 4:6 says, “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.”
Take the time to show love. If you believe that God still has the power to save, then that should apply to any and everybody! Invite everybody to the house of the Lord so he can save us all!
Hayes is the pastor of New Day Community Church and the president of the United Ministerial Alliance.