*Note: The following does not refer to any situation in my immediate family!
When Christians insult other Christians or the lost world, we are being a lousy testimony. Why do I bring this up? For reasons I won't go into, I have been made aware, once again (unfortunately), of the fact that not all Christians treat one another with love. At times, it is needful for a person to admonish a brother in the Lord. Some will receive the instruction. Some may feel that the admonishment is incorrect and will respectfully discuss it with the admonisher. However, there are those who will not humbly receive the reproach. Instead, they will pridefully argue their side of the issue. They will insult the one who respectfully asked them to examine themselves. In justifying his position, the admonished tries to belittle his brother. In the meantime, how does it make God look to the lost world?
If a man feels justified in insulting, arguing, and demeaning a brother with whom he shares a bond in Christ, how much more will he feel comfortable doing the same to a lost man with whom he shares no such bond? This type of man will not speak the truth in love. He will not love his enemies. He will not bless those that curse him. He will not show Christ to the lost. The lost will not want Christ from such a man.
Further, a child will not want Christ from such a man. With many words, we attempt to teach our children to be kind to one another. We teach them the Bible. However, they learn more by our actions. If they see or hear men insulting brothers or the lost, they will learn to behave in the same manner. They will call their siblings names and argue with them constantly. They will refuse instruction from their parents, pastors, elders, and friends. In so doing, they become fools. (Proverbs 1:7) They will never make an impact on the lost world, because the lost will see them as unkind, uncaring, and hypocritical.
Ironically, I have little patience with those who have such hard exteriors; those whose love is not evident in their actions. However, I need to be Christ-like and love them. He loves them and He loves me. We're all sinners.
We need to examine our own hearts. How do we show love to the brethren? All of them. How do we show love to the lost? Be truthful. Admonish both brothers and the unsaved when needed. Do not back down from what is right. But, in so doing, don't forget to fill our words (and actions) with grace. (Col. 4:6)*
For the sake of our children.
*Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time. Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man." Colossians 4:5-6 (Remember, too much salt makes something good absolutely awful!)