The life of faith, growing together in love and reaching the lost with the message of salvation has never been an easy task. The early church began in unity and harmony, but suffered much. It survived through tremendous persecution and from those who tried to undermine it from within.
For those with unshakable faith, even to the point of death, we have the blessing of their faithful witness. Each generation has continued to bring the message of salvation, which we have received to this day.
Our relationship with each other is so precious to God that protecting it is our primary mission. Nothing speaks louder about our faith than our actions and attitudes toward one another. We have all have the ability to interpret body language through our visual senses. While a smile can let down our guard, a glare will cause us to be wary, but deceptive attitudes in the heart are the most destructive.
When we judge others based on outward appearances or circumstances in their lives, we are actually bringing judgment on ourselves. Our Father has no favorites. “Judgment begins in the house of the Lord” (1 Peter 4:17). Only Jesus is worthy of judging our actions and attitudes, but many relationships have been destroyed by this sin. (James 4:11-12)
The easiest way to tell if unforgiveness lives in your heart is when the person who has offended you is constantly on your mind or the mention of their name causes anger. Forgiveness begins with you. As an act of your will, forgive the person. To know that forgiveness has taken place, there is no pain or anger when you think of that person.
“Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words and slander, as well as all types of malicious behavior. Instead be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving on another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:31-32 NLT)