Pristine Grace

Be Soft and Tender to One Another
by Jim Byrd
Be Soft and Tender to One Another

Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.”  - 1 Cor 1:10  

    How easy it is to be judgmental and even contentious with those who differ with us on matters of practice or opinion.  It is a sad truth that divisions have frequently existed among the people of the Lord.  Paul and Barnabas divided over the ministry of John Mark, and yet those three men loved and preached the same gospel.  Was it pride or ego that got in the way of them laboring, fellowshipping, and cooperating with each other?   I certainly am not advocating that we compromise on how God saves sinners, by sovereign grace through the effectual atonement of the Savior who is revealed to us by the regenerating grace of the Holy Spirit.  I refuse, however, to write off as unworthy of my love and fellowship anyone who disagrees with me on insignificant issues.  The basis of our friendship and communion is mutual love for Christ.  It is sad that some of the Lord’s people seem to delight in dividing with other believers who do not agree with them on every single point.  Someone might say that I am getting soft in my older age.  I am not soft on who God is, nor on who Christ is and what He did upon the cross.  I refuse to concede the truth of the electing grace of the Father, the successful redemptive work of the Son or the necessity of the quickening power of the Spirit.  I’m not soft on the spiritual inability of every sinner to come to Christ nor on the great idolatry of our day, which is, worship at the altar of man’s free-will!  I do, however, want to be soft and tender toward believers.  I intend to love the brethren, even if they do not choose to love me.  I’ve heard it said that some believers refuse to speak to other professing believers; what a shameful thing!  I’m so thankful that the Lord continues to speak to me through His Word, by His Spirit, even when my conduct, words or thoughts run contrary to the behavior of what a child of God ought to be.  Never forget that we are all sinful people with a multitude of faults and flaws.  I will share with you a little secret: I don’t always agree with MY actions or MY thoughts, yet I continue to live with and put up with myself!

    Let us take heed to the Word of God.  “Beloved, let us love one another; for love is of God; and everyone that loveth is born of God and knoweth God” (1 John 4:7).  If God will enable me, I will “keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3).  And for those times when I have said (or say) or have done (or do) anything that contradicts what I’ve written here, forgive and pray for me, but don’t write me off! However, whether or not you choose to love or forgive or even associate with me, I’m thankful that God, for Christ’s sake, has pardoned all my sins and He continues to love me and He will never refuse to speak to me nor will He ever hold anything against me!