Pastor Travis Burkett
As a student pastor, I’ve had many opportunities to sit back and watch how teens treat one another. Students will often come to my office struggling with how they are treated. They aren't a part of the clique, judged because of their past, or a number of other issues. It breaks my heart when students can be so hateful or negligent toward another. The sad truth is I’ve seen adults act the same way: I see athletes treat people like trash, parents treating one another poorly, and a presidential race filled with hateful statements about one another. Scripture is full of direct instructions on how to treat all people. Matthew 25:40, “And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” Wow, that is a powerful and convicting verse! My heart breaks for America because of the lack of Biblical care for all people. Let's see a few Biblical truths on how we should care for ALL PEOPLE.
John 13:34, “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.”
We all know what love means: A deep feeling of affection, but the phrase "love one another" is not the most important part of this passage. The most important part of this passage is “…as I have loved you…” Sit and think about just how much Jesus loves you. As a 28 year old man, I’ve sinned in many embarrassing and wicked ways, yet Jesus loves me! Wow! Jesus loves me at my worst. Even though I neglect Him, ignore His Word, sin against Him, judge others, treat people poorly, and become prideful or angry. Jesus STILL says, "I love you." So many people struggle with loving others because their personalities don't meet or their views are different, yet Jesus was bruised and beaten for the sins of the world and still said, "Father forgive them."
Standards Shouldn’t Excuse Your Lack of Love
The next verse, John 13:35, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”
This is a clear picture God gives us to have a good testimony in the community. The Bible says everyone will know that we are a follower of Christ if we simply love one another. It doesn't say 'if we love the people who have the same views, standards, or race.' It says one to another or all people. So, when did we think it was appropriate to make a public example of the sins we don't agree with or church members who have a different taste in music at church. Look, I understand “stand for what you believe in.” Our testimony matters, but our testimony is much more than the standards in which we live, it's how we treat others while living those standards.
Control Your Emotions
Ephesians 4:2, “With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love.”
God commands us to love in humility, meekness, and patience, in spite of troubles. I’m often told that I can handle many different types of people; it’s something I've diligently worked on. Being the right friend is natural for the people that you attract. The problem is that the Bible is speaking of all people, not just those like you. It’s talking about your boss, children, or the woman that takes 20 minutes to check out at Sam’s Club. God says, "Hey, love just as I love each of you." He doesn't stop there. He continues, "While you're loving everyone equally, control your emotions.” Your emotions do matter, but I believe it's critically important that we learn how to control our emotions and treat all people in love.
Serve All People
John 13:14, “If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet.”
Wait, Jesus washed people’s feet? Yes, my God, Creator, Master, Savior, Lord, and King literally washed people’s feet. Tell me again why it's hard to be loving to everyone? Jesus washed the feet of the people that He knew would betray Him. This is so fascinating. Jesus is amazing! Think about it, could we willingly do something special for someone that we knew would backstab us a few days later? The answer is probably no! Yet, Jesus displayed the perfect example of loving people without expecting anything in return.
Friend, I watch people in America divide because of sports, agendas, skin color, and politics. It’s wrong. It’s not what Jesus would do. We have the opportunity to impact every person we see with the Gospel of Jesus. We need to reach out and impact people. People need Christians to stop being distracted by their individual lives and be the friend that God created us to be.