Building Each Other Up
Written By Pastor Patrick VandenBos
“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear… Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:29, 32
The church is full of hypocrisy. We know it; the world knows it. The world pounces on the opportunity to point out our failures. Any sin is an opportunity for the accuser (the Devil), and those who follow his ways, to point the finger to display our imperfections. This finger-pointing is effective at tearing us down… because the accusations are true.
It is easy for the accusations and shortcomings to weigh us down. Before we know it, we have turned Christianity into “what we do” as opposed to “what God has done.” Don’t get me wrong, what we do is important, but WE are not the main focus of Christianity.
The Gospel (what God has done) is the main focus. The Gospel takes the hurting and broken and “builds them up.” The Gospel is “forgiveness” not slander. The Gospel says the work for salvation is finished. The Gospel tells you that despite what you have done wrong, forgiveness is yours through Christ. The Gospel lifts you up, while the devil and the world tear you down.
Unfortunately, slander makes its way into the church. But with every opportunity for slander and tearing down comes an opportunity for forgiveness. While the devil chooses the former, Paul tells Christians to choose the latter, the Gospel: Forgive one another, building one another up. When our brothers and sisters are found in error (or our interpretation of error), it is easy for us to heap judgments upon them, condemning them and pushing them away. THIS IS NOT THE GOSPEL.
It is good for us to call right, right and wrong, wrong according to God’s Word. But we, as Christians, cannot choose to actively pursue the putting down of others or to withhold forgiveness from those who need it. If we do, we are not living our lives in accordance with the Gospel.
As we come to church, we must come in a state of humbleness before God and before each other. We must live our lives out trying to display the Gospel through forgiveness and building each other up. We must also have the proper understanding of what our presence in church means. Coming to church is not a declaration that we have it all together. Instead, it is actually a declaration of the exact opposite. A Christian musician named Rich Mulins put it well this way:
I never understood why going to church made you a hypocrite, because nobody goes to church because they are perfect. If you’ve got it all together, you don’t need to go. You can go jogging with all the other perfect people on Sunday morning. Every time you go to church you’re confessing once again to yourself, your family, to the people you pass on the way there, that you don’t have it all together. And that you need their support. You need their directions. You need some accountability. You need some help.
We come to church to confess that we DON’T have it all together. What a glorious display of God’s Gospel when we meet each other’s faults and shortcomings with forgiveness. What a beautiful display of the Gospel when we come with intentional efforts to build each other up. May this be our aim and goal. Examine your relationships, examine your words, examine your heart attitude toward each other. Meet each other with a heart of Gospel forgiveness and be intentional to build each other up.
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