Is it spite or despite?

By Pastor Rob Berryman - Your pastor speaks

The winds of change are blowing in the world and the Church. Change is not something I enjoy. It’s often painful, or at the very least, uncomfortable. It’s nothing new. King Solomon wrote, “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun,” (Ecc. 1:9, NIV).

We shouldn’t be alarmed by the way we see people living around us. It’s a sign of the times. We see many Christians sticking their heads in the sand and carrying on about all the wild living they see happening around them. Sometimes we can be pretty spiteful in viciously attacking people simply because, “they aren’t like us.” Granted, we don’t condone all the choices they make, but friends, what would Jesus say to this?

A Pharisee once asked Jesus what was the greatest commandment. Do you know what Jesus said? “Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself,’” (Matt. 22:37-39, NIV).

Notice, Jesus didn’t give the guy a chance to interject, or comment, on loving God and loving others. It’s all one thought. “Love God and others.” When we say we’re faithful followers of Jesus Christ, we have to decide, are we going to do what Jesus tells us to do – to love God and other people despite what we think about them – or do we turn them away from God by treating them spitefully? If we love them despite their differences, we may gently guide them into greater conformity with Biblical principles. My prayer is that we lovingly guide them into a relationship with Jesus Christ – in spite of ourselves!

By Pastor Rob Berryman

Your pastor speaks

The writer is the pastor of New Hope United Methodist Church.

The writer is the pastor of New Hope United Methodist Church.