All believers know we are to love God and love others, but in reality, loving others doesn’t always come naturally. We all have issues, hurts, learned behaviors, and bad habits. Additionally, none of us are always going to be at the same mile marker along our faith journey. Not to mention, some people are at a place in their life that makes them unsafe. Regardless, it is likely at some point, conflict or offenses of some kind will manifest in our relationships and group fellowships. Hopefully, when such things do occur, we can allow the Holy Spirit to further mature us in God’s love for one another like a teachable moment in His time and His way. This past week, I stumbled upon a few teaching videos that help us love one another when conflict inevitably arises. I thought I would share with any followers for it is important we learn to love, which includes at times, tough love, even when it gets ugly.
Carrie expands on her previous video teaching others the importance of healthy boundaries and using discernment in judging other believers. To learn more about that teaching, watch the YouTube video S2 Episode 26: Boundaries // Don’t Judge Me? or read it here.
In this episode, S2 Episode 27: Motivated By Mercy, Carrie explains although we are called to judge in loving correction, we first must examine our own lives and our heart motives before issuing judgment when we discern unrighteousness. Assuming our hearts or consciences are clear, we may speak the truth in love to unrepentant brothers or sisters. However, we also must understand if are motives are not pure or we are being hypocritical, meaning we too are dealing with the same or similar sin in our lives, we risk bringing judgment upon ourselves by inviting the same problem to manifest in our specific life or those close to us. Why? Because in all things we are called to love and we are called to mercy even as we discern, judge, and correct others. If we misjudge, because our motives, for example, were to assert authority in our selfish pride, or we are hypocrites, the Lord often will bring the same issue in our own lives at some point in order to teach us compassion and mercy for “mercy triumphs over judgment” (James 2:12-13). So while we are called to judge one another (in love) and help keep one another accountable as ambassadors for Christ, we must first judge ourselves and our heart motives. If and when our hearts are motivated by mercy, we may be commissioned to take our brothers and sisters “aside and explained to him (them) the way of God more accurately” (Acts 18:26). In summary, as we grow up in God and learn to discern between righteousness and unrighteousness, we are called to lead in love, but first reflect, then correct, and direct.
Through it all, my prayer is our hearts are always motivated by mercy.
To research this teaching out further, please seek the Father’s heart in His Word:
- Matthew 7:1-2
- Romans 2:1
- Luke 6:37-38, 42 “see clearly”
- Matthew 18:15-20
- 2 Timothy 3:13-17
- Romans 14:2
- 1 Peter 4:15
- 1 John 4:17-18
- Mark 7:20-23
- Hebrews 4:12
- I Samuel 16:7
- Ephesians 4:11-16
- 1 Corinthians 5:8
- Acts 18:26
- Luke 21:13 (use it all for testimony..glory to God!)
After a difficult week dealing with a problematic pet and while noticing other issues, I share in this teaching video some truths I have come into along my journeys. This week in particular seems to be crying out for such truths! Watch the video or continue reading to learn more!
In our American culture and even the Christian culture, we tend to be confused on the importance of boundaries and what love looks like. We tend to equate love with tolerance and rebel against structure, laws, and boundaries in general not wanting to offend or judge others in matters. Just look at our society today. Look at our churches, our schools, our homes, and our individual lives. We have become chaos and confusion under the guise of peace and safety…under the terms of tolerance and love.
Boundaries are essentially a defined space, defined rights, responsibilities, or terms providing a healthy environment to genuinely respect and love one another. An illustration of such boundaries and their purpose would be the laws of the road. These laws, such as the speed limit, lines of a lane, red lights, traffic signs, destination signs, etc all are boundaries that when abided by or adhered to or followed allow for each of us to safely and peaceably reach our destination. Other forms of boundaries are fences, walls, doors, gates, usernames and passwords, contracts, lease agreements, and other legal terms. Boundaries define our rights and responsibilities…what is expected of each of us in order to operate in a respectful, loving, safe, and peaceful manner.
Likewise, G-d has boundaries. In fact, He is the original and ultimate author of boundaries. His laws are His ways and His will, which we can find throughout the holy Scriptures, namely throughout the first five books of the Bible: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. The rest of Scripture, including the lives of many before, but especially, Jesus or Yeshua, in His Hebrew name, helped demonstrate the meaning and purpose of G-d’s boundaries.
Furthermore, without G-d’s Torah, or boundaries..His written Voice, we would have no understanding of right and wrong, clean and unclean, holy and unholy and so forth (Romans 7:7; 15:14; 1 John 3:4). We would not even be able to accept G-d’s grace without G-d’s definition of sin found in His word. Unfortunately, many have fallen for the great deception that G-d’s laws no longer apply for we are under grace, twisting Paul’s words to fit their rebellious hearts (2 Peter 3:14-18), but Scriptures reveal *because* of G-d’s grace and subsequent acceptance of His gift of grace..His promise, which is G-d’s Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13-14; 2:8; Acts 1:4-5; 2:38-39), He will cause us to submit to G-d’s laws (Ezekiel 36:27; Jeremiah 31:31-33), not do away with them (Matthew 5:17; Romans 7:7,12), which is rebellion, sin, and bluntly speaking, witchcraft (I Samuel 15)!
Moreover, we have adopted the false notion that we should not discern nor speak out against what G-d defines as unholy, unclean, unrighteous. In our cowardness and complacency in our freedoms of faith in this country, we have succumbed to remaining silent captive to the deceiving chain of not wanting to judge others. It has been taught to many of us in Christian circles that to judge others is to not demonstrate love. But what does Scripture actually say about judging one another? Could discernment, judgment, and action be a form of love in G-d’s eyes? Let’s take a look together!
Tough love is a form of true love.
While most of today’s Christian culture eagerly propagates passages and doctrines of G-d’s abundant love, prosperity, and purpose to serve humans, the Scriptures within context, have a more balanced perspective. While G-d is a merciful, forgiving, and gracious holy G-d, who most certainly abundantly loves, He also is just. For without His justice, He could not be Holy, nor forgiving and gracious. Many fail to comprehend that tough love is a required form of true love. In fact, by remaining silent, doing nothing, in the name of grace, only further enables, approves, and reproduces the unholy, unjust sin that circumnavigates our globe readily. In other words, there is a fine line between exhibiting gracious acts and exhibiting grievous acts.
There is a fine line between exhibiting gracious acts and exhibiting grievous acts.
Consider the concept of disciplining your child. Does it benefit your child, their futures, or those who encounter your child now or later in life to squander correcting bad behavior now? Parents who turn the other cheek, so to speak, end up producing a spoiled, entitled monster who terrorizes others (see Proverbs 13:24). By failing to establish and enforce healthy boundaries, whether that be in our children, pets, or other types of relationships, we invite chaos and further harm in our lives and those around us. Additionally, it harms the “boundary buster”. A boundary buster, is a term I created to label those who fail to respect others’ boundaries, whether that be one’s personal boundaries or boundaries defined by G-d.
Establishing and enforcing healthy boundaries could be considered synonyms for judging others. Many Christians and those of the unbelieving world would say, “Don’t judge me!” or “Don’t worry, I’m not judging you..” in fear of what other’s may think, say, or do in response. After all, we are a society of walking on eggshells not wanting to dare offend anyone. When in reality, we have done exactly that: bred a society of the hyper-offended, just as Yeshua/Jesus prophecized (Matthew 24:10-13)!
“And then many will be offended, betray one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because LAWLESSNESS will abound, the love of many will grow cold.” -Yeshua, Matthew 24:10-13
Many believers have taken Jesus/Yeshua’s words and the Apostle Paul’s words out-of-context stating we should most definitely not judge others for this is not love and thereby, not Christ-like.
But is that what Scripture actually reflects? Let’s investigate a few passages to dig deeper. In Matthew 7, Jesus instructs His listeners to not judge others when you yourself struggle with the same or similar heart issue. Paul expresses similar sentiments in Romans 2. Furthermore, Scripture reveals that we are and in fact WILL BE judging others one day and that these encounters we experience in the here and now are training and testing us for future discernment opportunities. Explore these passages to learn more:
- Matthew 7:1-6
- Romans 2
- 1 Corinthians 5 (Notice Paul says in verse 3 he judges/discerns the matter and in verses 4 and 5, Paul speaks to the importance of tough love for the betterment of the rebellious and disobedient “believer”. In verse 9 and onward, Paul explains to not only judge believers who are blatantly dishonoring G-d (and His ways), but to essentially shun them, which is a form of discipline and a very clear boundary to be established and enforced. He goes on to clarify, he does not mean to judge and discipline non-believers, for they do not know any better and are still lost, but to to judge and discipline those who claim to accept Yeshua and be in covenant with G-d/Abba Father. For clearly, if a person is pursuing sexual sin, as an example, they are demonstrating fruit of the flesh and not fruit of the Spirit. Such issues of the heart need to be addressed by speaking the truth in love (boundary) and enforcing it. Always check you own motives though before doing so and do so within the realms or boundaries Yeshua defined for us in Matthew 18:15-20. Furthermore, you cannot judge or discipline a fellow brother or sister in Christ when you yourself are still dealing with the same root issue. For example, if you yourself are a fornicator, adulterer, struggle with pornography, or some other form of sexual lust, who are you to judge and address a fellow believer who may be in a lifestyle of homosexuality? For you yourself are producing fruit with the same root of sexual lust.
- 1 Corinthians 6 (Notice in verse 2 Paul reminds the Corinth church that believers or saints will be judging the world and even angels -see verse 3).
- The Book of Jude in verses 14-15 (expresses similar sentiments of the saint will judge the world)
- Revelation 20:4-6 (also explains the martyred saints will rule and reign and judge the world along with Christ).
- Ezekiel 44:23-24; Isaiah 2; Micah 2; Zechariah 14 (In the millennium, we see the Levites will judge and instruct others in G-d’s laws as will Yeshua).
So you see, dear brother and sisters, we need not be afraid nor be ashamed to “judge” or discern matters much less address them in truth and love. Boundaries are established so that we can BE love, as our Heavenly Father and Elohim designed.
Fear not! Rather, love G-d and love others for tough love is true love. Amen.
For further reading, consider the book “Boundaries” by Townsend and Cloud. Other than the Bible itself, this faith-based book, along with others in their series, changed my life for the better.
Gotta hate it when the Lord wrecks your attempt at putting Him in a pretty little box!