Object of Love

Love can build or destroy community, depending on its object. One who loves the dream of an ideal community will destroy it; one who loves those around them will build it.

Christians can be harsh, mean, judgmental, and condemning in the name of God if they view themselves as defending orthodoxy, purity, and the “right” way. Of course, orthodoxy, purity, and the “right” way are all important, but there is an appropriate spirit in which to correct people and a correct procedure to follow when making such corrections. The “Golden Rule” is a good measure here: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” (Luke 6:31). We should help others improve out of a spirit of love, not vindictiveness or an accusatory stance. Most often people want to do the best possible job in serving the Lord and in following Him. Usually they simply haven’t been shown a better way.

Gal 6:1
6:1 Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.

Matt 11:18-19

18 “For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ 19 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and “sinners.” ‘ But wisdom is proved right by her actions.”

Matt 18:15-17

15 “If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. 16 But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.”

Luke 9:49-56

49 John answered and said, “Master, we saw someone casting out demons in Your name; and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow along with us.”

50 But Jesus said to him, “Do not hinder him; for he who is not against you is for you.”

51 When the days were approaching for His ascension, He was determined to go to Jerusalem;

52 and He sent messengers on ahead of Him, and they went and entered a village of the Samaritans to make arrangements for Him.

53 But they did not receive Him, because He was traveling toward Jerusalem.

54 When His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?”

55 But He turned and rebuked them, [and said, “You do not know what kind of spirit you are of;

56 for the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.”] And they went on to another village.