God’s Word and our neighbour


Another important thing is that the Word of God also teaches us how to treat people and I think that’s very important today because we live in a time when everything has been upended.

We’ve got all these restrictions, we’ve got the pandemic, people are fearful. You’ve got all these social justice and civil movements rising up and it all seems to be very angry and aggressive, and it’s all about being against people.

But God wants to save people, so it’s very important that we know how to treat people.

It’s very important that we know how to treat each other as believers when we have disagreements or we have differences and it’s also important to know how to treat the unsaved.

I find a good reminder of how to treat people in Colossians 3 verses 8 to 17.

But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, 10 and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, 11 where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all.

12 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. 14 But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. 15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. 17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

Colossians 3.8-17

I always find in those few verses a very good reminder of how to treat each other: with loving kindness, respect, gentleness, showing humility, being humble and forgiving.

It can be very hard doing that sometimes and, if we aren’t reminded how to do it, we can sometimes let our flesh get a hold of us instead of the spirit. In difficult times, we should be one body supporting each other.

To me, it’s pointless if we know all the deepest theology, and ‘ologies‘, and doctrines but we don’t live the doctrine of how we’re supposed to walk as Christians, how we’re supposed to treat each other. As it says in 1 Corinthians 13 verse 1.

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.

1 Corinthians 13.1

Truth without love makes the truth un-understandable to those you’re trying to speak to. Truth without love makes it sound ugly and harmful and not  something you want to listen to. And it will probably make it harder for someone else to speak their truth in the future.

How we speak the truth is very important.

Now, there’s one famous commentator who likes to say ‘facts don’t care about your feelings’ but God does, God cares about who you are as a person. He knows that the lost are lost, that they are resistant to His Word, that they are under the control of the devil and that he’s trying to do everything to keep them away from Him.

So, how we bring across the truth is very important. As believers, we’re not just about winning arguments, we’re about saving souls of the lost. So, we can’t just be about the ‘head knowledge’ without the ‘heart knowledge’ of how God says we must treat each other.

If, on the other hand, we only care about our hearts but we don’t know the Word of God and we don’t know His truth – since it says the truth will set you free (John 8.32) and Jesus is the truth – how are we supposed to actually save people if we can’t give them the proper truth?

If you treat them nice and treat people nicely but you don’t come with the truth, you can’t set them free. And, if you come with the truth in the wrong way, you’ll bind them even harder to this world.

So, we need both, we need the truth of God’s Word to take those difficult truths to the world but we need to do it in the right way.

And when we read God’s Word, it tells us continuously how to treat people, and it’s with love, kindness, respect, long suffering, and patience. But we always tell God’s truth so that people can be saved.