Christians who are passionate for God can be unaware of the critical need for people to be understood. Many of our brothers and sisters in Christ have deep emotional roots that go ignored.
Jesus took the time to listen and understand. He looked below the surface to the heart.
People pay counselors thousands of dollars just to be heard in hopes of being understood. I believe the new explosion in blogging is a portrait of people needing to be heard, to be understood.
We all have a need to come to grips with the scars from our past, to be honest about our brokenness and become vulnerable and learn to grow through pain. We do this by being heard and being understood.
Bearing Fruit and Growing: Are We Really Loving One Another?
All over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing, just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and understood God’s grace in all its truth. (Col 1:6)
Are we bearing fruit and growing? Do we really understand God’s grace? Are we loving one another with extensive kindness, in spite of points of difference, and weaknesses? Do we take the time to listen and understand one another?
The Pain from Judgmental Christians
In my previous Fruit of the Spirit writings I came to the conclusion that prayer and Bible study are the answer to producing fruit of the Spirit.
Today I want to question how the lack of fruit of the Spirit in our lives can result from emotional brokenness due to a lack of love and a lack of being understood.
It is said the Christian army is the only one to shoot its wounded. Instead of trying to understand we condemn and criticize. What love is this? I have witnessed more condemnation inside the church than outside. There is a history of Christians seeing specks in others eyes and ignoring the logs in their own eyes.
Recently, I received a letter from a misguided woman calling me an adulteress according to Mark 10 and signed the letter “in love.” She explained she could no longer associate with me because I am an adulterer in sexual immorality because my former husband is alive. It hurts. I’ve received similar emails for over ten years and it still hurts. Some people just don’t understand that I received a full pardon because of Christ’s sacrifice. (I received a Biblical divorce. A lack of basic Bible hermeneutics is the reason for the faulty Scripture interpretation and consequential judgmental attitude.)
At first each stone throwing incident was painful to me personally. But now they cause me to grieve for the body of Christ, for all the broken souls in need of love that are receiving condemnation. How is it we forget Christ came not to condemn, but to save sinners?
The results of the superior and judgmental attitudes I have experienced are evident in my current church relationships. My wounds from the regular throwing of stones are still open. They begin to heal and then more stones are thrown. I attend church guarded. Fellowship is difficult because of my wall of protection.
God knows our deepest hurts and secret shame and accepts us because of His Son. Shouldn’t Christians do likewise?
Jesus Understood and Loved
The Samaritan woman felt worthless, abandoned, and unloved after five husbands. Jesus knew and understood. He offered her forgiveness and love in a nonjudgmental way. Jesus understood what she needed—to feel loved, valued, and accepted. And He knew a relationship with Him would fulfill that need.
Mary’s act of love anointing Christ with perfume was not understood and criticized by the disciples, But when his disciples saw it, they had indignation, saying, To what purpose is this waste? …
But Jesus understood! When Jesus understood it, he said unto them, Why trouble ye the woman? for she hath wrought a good work upon me. Jesus demonstrated a beautiful, wonderful, faith, hope, and love.
Only through Jesus and God’s Spirit can we have the faith to change a selfish heart into a heart of love that gives a blessed hope for the future.
As a tree bears fruit and grows in size, so the gospel produces spiritual “fruit” in believers. When we take the time to listen and understand we can help bring healing and restoration to others and fulfill the second greatest command, love one another.
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 1 John 4:7
Someone you know has a need to feel loved, valued, and accepted. Listen to them this week. Be the one to listen, hear, understand and love.
I began the Fruit of the Spirit Friday Meme, to bring myself to study this topic each Friday. I encourage you to join me. The fruits are listed in Galatians 5:22: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Related Fruit of the Spirit Posts:
- Diligently Teach Them to Your Children
- The Secret to Producing Spiritual Fruit
- Fruit of the Spirit Friday: Love
- Fruit of the Spirit: Faithfulness
- Patiently Waiting for Patience
Subscribe for 65 pages from The Heart Wisdom Teaching Approach (pdf)