You look at the couple and wonder: How did they ever find each other?
They are as different as they can be — one talks a lot, the other keeps quiet. They both love music but just one of them loves to sing, the other does not. He likes vacations in the mountains, while she prefers going to the sea. How do they manage to keep peace?
These were the words on the subject line of the email we received early in 2016. Fred, our dear Brother in Christ, surprised us all (including his wife for her birthday in March) with his idea of coming to Ireland. Once the plans were made and the tickets were booked it seemed like ages for the time to pass. Finally, on the 28th of June 2016 at 11:15am they arrived. We knew Fred and Judee for quite some years (through our online Church) but only met Fred once before in Frankfurt. So this was the very first time I met Judee, my precious Sister in Christ. How exciting!
The preparations for their visit were still going on when one day my friend came over for a cuppa tea.
She asked me: “Your guests will be over for a whole week? Don’t you think that’s a bit long? Are you sure you will get along?”
“It’s different when Christians come together,” I told her.
“How?” she wanted to know.
I said: “Loving and being merciful — counting others more significant than yourself.”
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. (Philippians 2:3)
The world explains love in another way: I, me, myself counts more than others. What I desire, what makes me happy is more important than what others feel and think. Even if people do good things unto others, their motivation is usually to gain something in return or so they will have their peace. Many times they will “love” due to ideal circumstances or because the people are okay… as the saying goes What goes around, comes around — You’ll be nice to me then I’ll be nice to you!
Eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. (Ephesians 4:3)
For the Christian it is not I love you if… but rather I love you no matter what. We choose to love the person even if s/he does something we do not like or something that is wrong. We need to forgive, we should not gossip and keep no records of wrongs. That does not mean, however, that we will ignore sinful behaviour or call it good.
Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter. Isaiah 5:20
Of course we are not all the same! Some of us like to sleep in, others like to get up early. Some of us enjoy a hearty breakfast, others prefer a bowl of cereal. Some of us love to go sight-seeing, other would rather go hiking. Dissimilarities can become a problem and get out of hand when everyone wants to control. As Christians we know, though, who should be at the ruder: Jesus Christ! When we focus on Him, He will guide our boat even through the rough waters.
Love one another
For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous. Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you. We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. 1 John 3:11-18