Pastor urges forgiveness, kindness among Christians
"Bear with each other and forgive one another. If any of you have grievance against another forgive as the Lord forgave you." - Colossians 3:13-14
This portion of scripture is one of the many lessons the Bible teaches about forgiveness. Christians fighting against Christians cannot be at peace with their Heavenly Father. The Bible tells us in 1 John 4:12 that, "no one has ever seen God but if we love one another, God lives within us and his love is perfected in us."
Pastor Dexter Dennis from the Halse Hall District of Churches in Clarendon agrees. "If we are going to say we love God whom we can't see, and we have our friends and church members whom we can see and we can't show them love, how then can we say we truly have love for God? So, the malice, envy and all else we must put aside in order to make it as Christians." He said this was crucial because if Christians cannot forgive each other then God will not forgive us either.
"When the disciples had a problem and went to Jesus and said, 'Master, how many times should I forgive my brother?', Jesus said 70 times seven, and that's just in a one day," Dennis told Family and Religion.
He quoted the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 1:10 where he made an appeal to the brethren in the name of Lord Jesus Christ for all of them to agree with one another in what they say and that there be no divisions among them, but that they be perfectly united in mind and in body. "Unforgiveness was a problem that occurred in the early church and still exists today but God wants us to be united as a church, not as denominations but as a church and if we are in church together we must be united."
He continued: "One of the major problems that causes issues among members in church is a lack of forgiveness; it is the root of all the problems in church. Persons don't possess a forgiving spirit. Hypocrisy, back-biting, all of those things rob Christians of what God really wants them to have."
He explained that such things take a strong hold on one's Christianity, adding that a person can praise God all they want but if they are not living good with their brothers and sisters then something is terribly wrong.
"Ephesians 4:3 says we are to make the effort to keep the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace. What we want in the church is peace. There may not be war in church with guns and knives but the war of words, with people talking against people and bearing false witness against each other. The Bible didn't say these things won't happen, but when they do we should have the spirit to forgive and turn away from these things," he said.
The pastor also warned against persons using the excuse of Christians being hypocrites in church as reason not to attend. "The church is like a hospital and if you are perfect then you don't need the church. But all of us are sick with something and we are at the place for healing," he said. "Many of us Christians become stumbling blocks for others by the way we behave and act as Christians. I always say to persons, if you know how to live better, then come into the church and show us how to live. The church is not a perfect place but we are serving a perfect God and day by day as we grow we will get better. So, although the Christians are not perfect they are at the place to be healed and as long and they are willing, healing will come. Those on the outside are outside and will be easily overcome by the trials out there."