I was at the gym this week and it was pretty packed.  I was working hard and sweating.  (You didn’t think I keep looking like this by sitting on the couch, did you?)  Anyway, as the sweat was totally dripping off of my face I noticed a guy all the way across the gym.  He was waving.  I didn’t recognize him.  I didn’t know if he was waving at me or waving at one of the many people behind me.

At this point, I had a choice to make…

*Do I wave back at him and risk looking like a dork if he was waving at one of the many people behind me?

*Do I ignore him, when I am obviously looking in that direction, and look like a jerk.  Maybe he visited the church, recognized me, and got out the door before I met him.

*Do I turn around and look behind me to see if it is me or someone behind me that he is waving at?

*Do I give the “head nod,” smile, and say a “hey”.

That’s the one I chose.  I still don’t know if it was me but hopefully I got all of the bases covered with my decision.

The problem in this situation was that I didn’t know what my relationship was to this guy.  I didn’t know if he was a stranger, work out partner, old high school friend that looked older so I didn’t recognize him. I wasn’t sure about our relationship.

Sometimes in relationships where there are two single people of the opposite sex that spend alot of time together, one begins to feel strongly about the other.  One thinks they are just friends while the other one is madly in love.  As things start to get goofy and the relationship is misunderstood, a DTR needs to take place.  (Define The Relationship)  Are we still just friends or are we more than that now?

Jesus gave the disciples a DTR as to how believers should be treating each other.  Here it is from John 13:34-35

“So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”

Did you get that last part?  “Your love for each other will prove to the world that you are my disciples”

People need to know that we’re different and that needs to start WITHIN THE WALLS of the church.  We should be encouraging each other, lifting each other up, and loving each other.  The love should be so thick INSIDE the church that it bleeds OUTSIDE the doors.

Believers should be loving each other by:

  • Caring for the sick
  • Keeping each other’s kids
  • Taking meals during pregnancies, hospital stays, and funerals
  • Visiting hospitals and funerals when people from the church are involved
  • Keeping an eye open for opportunities to bless each other

This doesn’t just include people in the church that we like.  Let’s go ahead and admit it.  There are people that are harder to love than others in the body of Christ.  Here’s what the Word says about that:

If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?  -Matthew 5:46

Anybody can love the easy to love.  Love each other INSIDE the walls and those OUTSIDE the walls will notice a difference!

“By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”  -John 13:35

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Sometimes people say dumb things but sometimes people are just rude.  Do you know people that have a track record of speaking without regard to others?

If you ask them why they speak as they do, they may respond, “I just speak my mind.”  Translation:  I’m ok with being rude to others.

I’ve known individuals that have said “innocently dumb” things.  I’ve been innocently dumb and you probably have too but those with a pattern of running over people are a different story.

I Can Be Dogmatic Myself About Things

I realize that I can be dogmatic about my faith but I know that we’re not going to win anyone to the faith by being dogmatic AND rude.  With all of my heart, I trust God’s Word.

You can disagree with me and I’m ok with that but don’t be rude.  Rude people can get under my skin.

So how should Christ-followers respond to rude and stupid people?

Here’s a good guideline when disagreeing with someone:

“Say what you mean and mean what you say.  Just don’t say it mean.”

Jesus said:

“If you love those who love you, what reward will you get?  Are not even the tax collectors doing that?   And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?”  -Matthew 5:46-47

That’s not my natural nature.  I usually want to  “breathe fire upon them” in a cutting way with my own tongue.  My natural nature would be to jump right back down their throat.

The deal is, our response is what is supposed to separate Christ’s followers from others.  Any natural person would want to get even but we aren’t supposed to think “naturally” anymore.  We’re Christ followers and that makes us different.  (Not doormats, but different.)

Reach deep inside and ask God to help you to love the person behind the jerk.  Jesus died for them too.  I am learning to try to say what I need to say but do it with a smile if possible.  Sometimes words aren’t even warranted.

How do you deal with Rude Jerks in your life?