Loving Our Fellow Believers- Even when it's tough.

     Through some things not directly related to me, but having an effect on me and others, I wondered "What do I do in order to best follow God's plan for this? Do I completely cut off my friendships with these people? Do I act like nothing is wrong? Do I call them out on it?" Unfortunately, I did not find these verses until after school was out, and I no longer saw these kids every day. Even though I still think about them and have contact with them, it's not like I am reminded of their mistakes every day. All this said, I don't want this to sound like I am writing it out of spite for these people, and I don't want to come across as thinking I'm better than them, just because I haven't made the same mistakes. I am just as wretched of a sinner as them, and have made innumerable amounts of mistakes in my own life. I suppose you could read this as a "thinking out loud" excerpt from my own thoughts.
     In 2 Thessalonians 3:14 & 15, it says "Take special note of anyone who does not obey our instruction in this letter. Do not associate with them, in order that they may feel ashamed. Yet do not regard them as an enemy, but warn them as you would a fellow believer."
       These verses say not to associate with them- this is also reiterated in verse 6, "In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers and sisters, to keep away from every believer who is idle and disruptive and does not live according to the teaching you received from us."
     In addition to not associating with them, we are supposed to warn them, just as we would warn a fellow believer. When we warn them, we need to do it out of love-love for them and for God. This is stated in 1 Thessalonians 5: 14 & 15, "And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else."
      In 1 Corinthians 13, the famous love chapter in the Bible, it says, "If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to the flames that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing." These verses continued repeating themselves in my head, and still continue to repeat themselves. If I could have done something about the entire situation(s) that occurred this year, would I have done it out of love? That is the question that I ask myself. Did I act out of love? Did I speak out of love? Did I pull away from those friendships out of love? And what love did I do it out of? Love for the other person? Love for God? Or was it some sort of selfish love for myself, and not wanting to get hurt through the situation? I hope and pray that my actions and words stemmed from my love for God and my fellow believers.

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