Loving Our Brothers and Sisters

As part of my devotional time, I often listen to Lectio 365, a unique Christian prayer organization. Yesterday’s Lectio 365 devotional was a “feast day,” celebrating St. Frances Xavier, a Jesuit priest who lived during the 1500s AD. He spent his life as a missionary in India and the surrounding nations. During his ministry, he planted over 40 churches and baptized an estimated 30,000 new believers in Jesus.

So often, we Christians act like the church in Corinth, only with our denominations. “I follow Paul,” or “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Cephas,” or “I follow Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? (1 Corinthians 1:12-13) Some Christians cringe when someone from a different denomination is honored as an example of a servant of God. How sad.

As Christians, we become a member of a denomination because we trust that their teaching will guide us to be more in line with God’s will, to be more effective in our Christian testimony, to be more accurate in our understanding of God’s Word. Still, people that have been confronted by the Holy Spirit, that have repented, that have placed their faith in Jesus, that have confessed their faith publicly, they have been regenerated, and they are our brothers and sisters in God. They are Christians.

It is good to celebrate a great missionary such as Frances Xavier, and it is good to celebrate a great missionary such as Hudson Taylor. In these days of turmoil, it is good if we embrace our fellow followers of Jesus. Does this recognition invalidate our beliefs taught us by our denomination? No. But if we can’t love our brothers and sisters, how can we ever love the lost?

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