In John 21, Jesus spoke to Peter about ‘feeding His sheep’. Jesus asked Peter “Do you love me?” Peter answers with “Yes Lord, you know that I love you” … Jesus then says, “Take care of my sheep”. As believers, the Lord is asking us today ‘Do you love me? … then feed my sheep’
But what happens when we become so concerned with those around us? Do you sometimes question the genuineness and love of your fellow brothers and sisters towards God and towards you? Do you sometimes find yourself asking God ‘Lord, why aren’t those around me genuine in their Christian walk? Why can’t they show genuine love? Why does everyone around me seem so artificial? How is that person serving You?’
We can easily be discouraged and bring ourselves down because we are so concerned with whether or not those around us are fighting the good fight. When we do that, we jeopardise our happiness, our relationship with the Lord, our effectiveness in service and our own genuineness.
But how should we as believers deal with disappointment from other believers? Firstly, we must remind ourselves that all have sinned (Romans 3:23). Reminding ourselves of how God loved us as sinners should be great motivation to continue loving our brothers and sisters. Christ did not hang on a cross any more for your brother or sister than He did for you.
Secondly, we ought to speak the truth in love. “So that we may no longer be children, tossed to and from by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ” (Ephesians 4:14-15). God does not want us to live in war with those around us. What is the truth? John 17:17 says, “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.” – We need to look to God’s word and do what it tells us – and if something is contrary to God’s word, it must be corrected.
Thirdly, we must remind ourselves that gossiping about others is a sin in itself. Romans 1:29 lists gossips among murderers, slanderers and haters of God. Ephesians 4:29 says unless it builds others up, don’t say it! Talking to someone about someone else’ sin is not going to restore this person to better relationship with God or with yourself. Watch out for Matthew 7:3-5 which says “Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”
Whilst the Bible tells us to speak the truth in love, we must first take heed that we don’t have a log in our own eye. “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me and lead me in the way everlasting!” (Psalm 139: 23-24).
Peter looks at John (one of the other disciples) and asks Jesus “Lord, what about Him”? Jesus responds with “What is that to you?”. Dear reader, the Lord calls you to love, to serve, to forgive others, to preach the good news. Our objective in this life should be to look more like Jesus. Don’t be so concerned with those around you – Jesus asks you today, ‘Do you love me? Then feed my sheep … follow me’. YOU must follow Him.