Having a Christlike Attitude and Learning to say sorry
Today is Remembrance Sunday and today we remember and give thanks to God for all the men and women who sacrificed themselves for the freedom we have today. We pay a special thanks for the men and woman of the World War 1. A freedom that for some people is being robbed from them as I speak. Why? Why are there still wars, between countries, tribes, races? Why are there what I call ‘Inner War/battles’. The war against internal troubles in our towns and countryside, in our homes. Political or otherwise. Drink, Drugs, Domestic Abuse, Child Abuse, Sex Trafficking, Homelessness, Disease and so on. Why?
One could say it is all about one word. For there is one word that, could we learn to use it more often, has the power to change the world, but it is probably one of the hardest words to say. I refer, of course, to the little word ‘sorry’ – a word apparently so simple, yet one that sticks in the throat as few others do. We can mean to say it and even look for the opportunity to do so but, when the moment comes, so often we are unable to spit it out. The reason I suppose is our reluctance to lose face, our unwillingness to admit publicly our fallibility. Yet, although some might see saying sorry as a sign of weakness, it actually requires great humility and immense strength of character. If only more of us had the courage to give it a go. But we know that saying ‘sorry’ is just a part of the whole business of wars and inner battles we humans are not very good at doing. However, it is a start!
So many countless people wait for an apology for the hurts of the past which have changed their lives forever. Countless disagreements over real and trivial things. Countless people oppressed, suppressed, depressed, facing torture, hunger, famine and epidemic disease, countless people on refugee status, homeless. Drug, sex and alcohol additions. Why?
The world’s attitude towards each other. Our attitude, our actions and our affections to the people we meet in the streets. Before I get shot! I realise that most people do have an attitude of love, forgiveness and kindness but there are people living in our streets and towns that like to offend, ridicule and abuse people in way you and I can’t imagine.
Jesus sets out exactly, how we should behave towards one another in our Romans passage. In the simplistic view from SMYLers. We should:
Love one another.
Do not think you are way smarter and way better than others.
Forget about getting even.
Treat with respect everyone you meet.
Be kind - even to those who are not kind to you.
Pay attention to the feelings of others.
Care about them.
Jesus said we should WALK AS A FAMILY. We are to operate as a family, with each member feeling the hurts and afflictions of another. We are never to allow ourselves to become aloof and disconnected from our Christian family. This is a plea for humility, unity and compassion among the members of God's family at all times!
Jesus said we should WALK IN FELLOWSHIP – No one in this family of faith should feel that they are better than another. We are all cut from the same cloth, saved by the same blood and headed to the same heaven. We are to stand together as one, working for the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ. (Phil. 1:27). There is no one in this church that has the right to think that they are better than anyone else. (Phil. 2:4).
Jesus said we are to WALK IN FORGIVENESS - According to Jesus, there will be times when we become offended by the words or deeds of another. (Luke 17:1). When they do we are not to respond by seeking to get even with the offending party. Instead, we are commanded to practice forgiveness one toward another. (Luke 17:1-4; Eph. 4:32).
Jesus said we are to WALK IN FAITHFULNESS - This is a command to live a "beautiful" life. We are called upon to be faithful in the sight of all men by living the kind of life that brings glory to the Lord. The life we live should be a thing of beauty to those who observe it and to the Lord, Who also sees every move we make. Nothing is more God honouring and beautiful than a faithful life!
Jesus says we should BE PEACEFUL - Here, we are commanded to see that there is peace in the family of God. Notice that God says that each person is responsible for their own actions in this matter. You are to go the extra mile, without demanding the same from your Brother. You are to offer the apology first, without waiting on him before reconciliation begins. You are to take the lead in seeing there is peace and harmony in God's family. The idea is that if each believer will do his or her part, there will be no place for trouble and disunity in God's House!
Jesus says we should BE PATIENT - Of course, the command here is obvious. We are not to take matters into our own hands. When we have been offended and our brother refuses to make it right with us, then we are to leave the matter in the hand of God. It is not our place to get revenge. It is not our place to extract our pound of flesh. It is our place to love them and to leave them in the hand of God. The Lord saw everything that happened and He will see that the record is set straight, whatever it takes!
Jesus says we should BE POSITIVE - Since the Lord will deal with fault, we are to take the lead in being a friend to our enemy. The Lord would have us to reach out to them in love and humility. If they rebuff us, that is between them and the Lord. We have done our part and that is all the Lord requires! So, instead of getting all hot and bothered when someone does the dirty on us, let us seek to be like Jesus Who literally blessed His enemies as He died. (Luke 23:34). That is godliness in action! That is Christ living in us for the glory of God. That is also something against which your enemy cannot compete. He will have an answer for your arguments, but he will have none for your love!
Jesus says we should BE PLEASANT - Don't be the kind of person who is always looking for something to be upset about. There are people like that! They love nothing better than for someone to offend them so they will have an excuse for their bitter attitudes. Be a pleasant person by being Christlike in every situation. You have no control over how you are treated by others, but you have absolute control over how you respond to them. You have absolute control over how you treat your fellow believers. Be pleasant and the Lord will bless your life!
Having a Christlike attitude may not stop a war from happening to start with BUT is has served us better since. There may be some ‘inner battles’ going on with our European partners, but we are not at the scale of destruction and wounding and desecration that was done during the First and Second World Wars.
As our SMYLers have said:
Love one another. Do not think you are way smart and way better than others. Forget about getting even. Treat with respect everyone you meet. Be kind - even to those who are not kind to you. Pay attention to the feelings of others. Care about them.
You will then find yourself being Christ to others in the world, making a better place for us to live in. Then we will be honouring ‘The Fallen’ – men and women as well as Jesus and letting them know they did not die in vain.