For the past three weeks, Hebrews 13 has been revealing its treasures to us daily. There are many and they are prophetic, and they are so very timely. And I am personally excited because I have been praying for this. Of course, all of scripture is prophetic and certainly timely, but some passages seem to speak directly into what is needed in the current situation.
So far, we’ve been spending most of our time on verses 9-14, where Jesus is compared to the sacrificial animals that were taken outside the camp and burned after their blood had been spilt as atonement for the people’s sins. And that is where we go to meet Jesus — outside the camp — where we share in His disgrace in order to also share in God’s grace toward us.
But there are other parts of this chapter that are timely, like the very first verse, “Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters.” That’s nothing new, but it’s also not happening. There is so much division right now, at least here in this country, and from what I can ascertain, it is a global phenomenon. The unfortunate thing is that Christians are letting these divisions create barriers with other Christians. Things like the global pandemic, and vaccines, and racial and other social injustices, and everyone is taking sides and letting barriers rise between fellow believers, engendering hatred where there should be love among brothers and sisters. I often hear stories about issues splitting up families, but the same things are splitting up brothers and sisters in Christ. We are all part of the family of God. We are one in Christ. Dearly beloved, these schisms cannot be.
The trouble is caused because we are placing worldly agendas above biblical truths. This is WRONG. Even if you think your cause is right and just, even biblical (and it may be), it will not be solved by human means, and it’s the kinds of allegiances Christians have formed with the world’s systems that pit brother against brother in Christ. But God never furthers His Kingdom through human means anyway.
So what do we do about this? We love. Love puts us on a higher plain. Love takes us up and over our differences. Love is the high road.
“Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters” no matter what else is going on. Nothing must take precedence over this. As Hebrews 13:14 says, “For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come.” We are not even in our home, so why are we making these “homeland” issues so all-important? As Larry Norman sang, “We’re only visiting this planet.”
Believe what you like about these national and global issues, but when it comes to your brothers and sisters in Christ, we must love over our differences. Love cuts through logic and reason. Love interrupts the consequences of our actions. Love is greater than you being right or me being right. Love is greater than anything. Love is supreme.
Here is what is important: introducing the Gospel of Welcome — Grace Turned Outward — to Everyone, Everywhere. And a major part of how we’re going to do that is by continually loving one another as brothers and sisters in Christ no matter what side of what issue we may be on. If there are barriers to love, we need to love over them. God did that for us — He loved over our sin through the cross. Certainly we can love over the barriers we face in each other.
“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:35)