John 13:31-35

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. John 13:34

Have you ever been harshly judged by a fellow Christian? If so, you know that having a peer’s self-righteous condemnation poured out on you can be irritating, if not painful. Far too many nonbelievers are turned away from the Cross as a result of the actions of abusive Christians.

Muhatma Ghandi once said that he liked Jesus, but could not come to accept the Christians he had met. It is important for Christians to uphold high moral standards, but there is a difference between discipline and abuse.

Discipline is always directed toward a specific behavior and is rooted in love. For example, talking to a friend about his or her problem with dishonesty in a way that demonstrates genuine concern can be helpful.

Abuse, on the other hand, is directed toward a person and is rooted in the abuser’s own anger and hatred. Telling another person that they are ungodly because they wear clothing that is different from yours or have different musical tastes could result in building resentment, rather than helping that individual know and embrace the love of Jesus.

When we allow our carnal feelings to fuel a moral rebuke of another person, our behavior is anything but Christian. Three times on the eve of His crucifixion Christ said, “Love one another” (John 13:34). Throughout the New Testament are instructions to believers on how to treat people. There is never an excuse for a Christian to damage or harm another person.

Lord, guard my heart so that I may not use You as an excuse for hurting others.

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