A: You're right; Christians certainly are supposed to love others, especially their fellow believers. Jesus' words couldn't be clearer: “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you” (John 15:12).
When we don't love, however, it's because we haven't allowed Christ to take control of our lives and fill us with His Spirit. I often think in this connection of the Christians in the ancient city of Corinth. Most of them came out of a pagan background, and it was hard for them to understand what it meant to follow Jesus in their daily lives. Paul, in fact, had to rebuke them because they weren't getting along.
But Paul didn't give up on them — and neither did Christ. Instead of condemning them or turning his back on them, Paul urged them to look at Christ and seek to be more like Him — and in time, they did. Perhaps God has placed you in this church to be an example to others of Christ's love and mercy.
Pray for those in your church who can't seem to get along — and pray especially for your pastor. Pray not only that they'll stop bickering, but that they'll commit their lives more fully to Jesus and allow His love to fill their hearts. Almost nothing pleases Satan more than for Christians to squabble among themselves, because it makes unbelievers laugh at the Gospel and assume Christians must be phonies. But it doesn't need to be that way — and it won't be, when God's people humble themselves and seek to do His will.
Q: I don't want anything to do with God. I grew up in a strict Christian home and I've had enough. I suppose you'll try to talk me out of it (like my parents did), but I'm not interested. — J.M.
A: God has given you the freedom to turn your back on Him, but have you honestly stopped to ask yourself exactly why you're doing this? I doubt if you have, but I sincerely hope you will.
Why have you rejected God? It isn't because you've weighed all the evidence for and against God, and decided it isn't logical to believe in Him. Nor is it because you've examined all the things (good and bad) that people have done over the centuries in the name of Christ, and concluded that all Christians must be hypocrites or phonies.
No, you've rejected God for one reason: You are reacting against your parents. They weren't perfect; they may even have had an incomplete understanding of what the Christian life was all about. But in your determination to free yourself from their influence, you've also cut yourself off from the living God. And yet I believe that down inside you still sense a hunger in your heart for God; otherwise you wouldn't have written to me.
My prayer is that you will discover the greatest truth anyone can ever discover — that God loves you and wants to welcome you into His family as His child forever. Don't let your pride, or your rebellion, or a particular sin, or anything else keep you from Christ, but open your heart and life to Him today. The Bible says, “Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near” (Isaiah 55:6).
Send your queries to “My Answer,” c/o Billy Graham, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201; call 1-(877) 2-GRAHAM, or visit www.billygraham.org.